Meeting Engineering Challenges Despite Site Complexities

The developers and owners of the Hyatt Place hotel sought to convert an underutilized 20,000-square-foot surface parking lot site at a prominent intersection in the historic Old Port section of Portland into an 80,000-square-foot, seven-story, 130-room hotel. Because the building site is located within the City’s dense urban core, the project required precise planning and engineering to avoid conflicts with the extensive municipal utility infrastructure (storm sewer, sanitary sewers, and combined sewers) surrounding the site, as well as the City’s desire to have off-site roadway improvements incorporated into the project. The owners hired Woodard & Curran, in collaboration with the architect and owner’s representative, to provide local land-use/environmental permitting and site-civil engineering design associated with the project.

Woodard & Curran’s project team successfully engineered the complex connections to the City’s entangled municipal utility infrastructure. Furthermore, private electrical infrastructure that could not be relocated crossed under the site, which required careful attention to design during construction and post-construction to maintain its integrity. Woodard & Curran developed a grading plan to provide accessible (ADA) routes into the hotel while protecting the private utilities.


The hotel’s low-lying building site in Portland had occasionally been prone to flooding. The City of Portland has recently focused on improving its stormwater infrastructure and has been making concerted efforts to reduce pollution from stormwater on local receiving waters. Woodard & Curran was engaged to design and implement systems to manage stormwater quantity and quality at the compact urban site. The firm led negotiations with the municipality regarding acceptable impacts on the City’s existing combined sewer overflow (CSO) infrastructure. We designed effective stormwater Best Management Practices to treat the site’s stormwater nearest its source.

Despite the accelerated schedule and requirements to minimize site and traffic disruption during construction, Woodard & Curran, working in conjunction with its project partners, was able to keep construction site costs within budget despite the complex challenges and requirements.

The hotel’s owners were pleased with team’s skillful determination, as the Hyatt Place Hotel opened before a competing hotel. The project was also a recipient of an ACEC Engineering Excellence Honor Award.

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