PORTLAND-If there’s a hotel being sold or developed here, chances are Ed Dundon has something to do with it.

His locally-based brokerage firm Dundon & Co. is known for closing hotel deals, whether it’s a disposition or a development. Indeed, the city’s most well-known downtown hotel happenings of late – expansion of the Hilton Hotel, development of the Residence Inn by Marriott at Riverplace and the Heathman Hotel sale – have all involved Dundon & Co.

So when the FDIC last week warned lending institutions of possible hotel overbuilding in the area, GlobeSt.com got Dundon on the phone to talk about the state of the Portland hospitality market. For one, says Dundon, the development pipeline is relatively dry. In the company’s March report, some 12 hotels (1,100 rooms) were under construction. Now, says Dundon, construction has slowed to five hotels and closer to 800 rooms.

Couple that with lots of new room demand being created by a boom in office and retail development region wide, and occupancy rates that have been shrinking for the last couple of years should now begin to stabilize, if not turn upward, Dundon says. Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually go down again.

“I’ve watched these cycles now for a number of years,” says Dundon. “New supply comes on the market, things slow down, occupancies sink, demand catches up, and then more supply comes on the market.”

Dundon especially likes prospects for the upscale downtown hotel market, which he says has been hovering at around 70% occupancy after boasting 80% occupancy through much of the early 1990s. The regionwide average is closer to 50%, Dundon says.

“I have a lot of confidence in downtown,” Dundon says. “It’s a great market for hotels because of the balance of retail, office and residential – something many downtowns have not achieved.”

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