Sortis (OTC: SOHI) has been a key driving force behind the rescue of the 1909 historic downtown Portland Ace Hotel. The Sortis investment will allow the hotel to move through the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis taking the down time to freshen up the interiors and gear up for a return to travel and social life.
Sortis acquired the Ace with the original founders, joining them in ownership. Sortis worked closely with Ace Founder Wade Weigel through the process, who is also the founder of Rudy’s Barbershop. The Sortis team has worked closely with Weigel through 2020-2021 through the rescue of Rudy’s in May 2020 and now the Ace Portland. Weigel, accompanied by the Ace’s other founder Doug Herrick, are core to the original ethos and soul of the hotel as a cultural space.
“When we opened the Ace Seattle in 1999 and the Ace Portland in 2006, it was always about more than a place to stay. It was a gathering place, a meeting place, and a resting place for creatives. The goal was to create an environment that felt like home shared by travelers and locals alike. The spirit of the Ace’s culture, energy and community is all about sharing space together and exploring the city. Once we’re able to gather again safely, this is what I am most excited about for the Ace in Portland,” noted Ace founder Weigel.
Like most hotels, the Ace was not immune to COVID-19 and was forced to drastically shift gears through 2020. COVID-19 and the political action dominating downtown Portland have seriously impacted the city’s hospitality scene. Yet, the Ace’s long-standing popularity as a brand and the physical location and historical significance of the space made the Ace Portland a clear fit for the Sortis Rescue Fund.
The shutdown gave the Ace’s leadership time to step back and consider a strategic plan for making it through the pandemic successfully. Weigel and Herrick contacted Sortis after the successful rescue of Rudy’s Barbershop in May 2020.
Sortis Hospitality’s David Vialli and Sortis’ Executive Chairman Paul Brenneke developed a strategy that allowed the hotel to once again be under the control of Sortis and its original founders. Moving forward, the Ace will use capital provided by Sortis to renovate the guest rooms at the hotel in addition to subsidizing operations until the pandemic passes. Originally built in 1909, the historic building is an architectural staple in the heart of the downtown West End neighborhood bordering the normally bustling Pearl district.
“What excited us most beyond the investment was the opportunity to help preserve an iconic Portland hotel and the gathering space it provides. Partnering with Wade and Doug to bring the Ace back to being a centerpiece for social connection in Portland is more important than ever as we come out of COVID-19,” stated Sortis Hospitality’s Vialli.
“As we move forward, this is an opportunity for us to reimagine the next iteration of Portland’s downtown. By providing capital to renovate guest rooms, we see the Ace coming out of this period stronger than ever. Coming out of COVID-19 shutdowns, people are going to look for social and human connection again, and I believe we will be able to provide the space for that at the Ace again as it once did,” said Sortis’ Brenneke.
About the Sortis Rescue Fund
We launched the Rescue Fund to capitalize on the dislocation and market stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic fallout. This recession is proving to be deep and intense enough to create situational distressed investment opportunities, particularly in hospitality, retail, office, and select operating businesses.
Our team consistently finds a wide range of opportunities to deploy capital on behalf of investors across changing economic environments and market cycles, and this time of national and global distress is no exception. The SRF does not make broad market acquisitions but rather sources and acquires specifically targeted distressed assets in situations with strong value enhancement.