Based in Portland, Oregon, Barclay Grayson serves as the BPM Real Estate Group’s senior vice president and head of acquisitions and development. A focus for the Company is the downtown Portland development of the 35-story tower Block 216, which encompasses a Ritz Carlton Hotel, Ritz Carlton Residences, offices and retail space.
With the pandemic a backdrop, the high-profile project, revealed in 2019, has not experienced any wavering of support. The need for a local five-star hotel is still an issue in a dynamic market that is expected to recover and expand. The Ritz Carlton Hotel Portland will be Portland’s and the State of Oregon’s first five-star hotel.
As reported by the Portland Business Journal, BPM has found substantial funds toward the Block 216 project through the sale of its Broadway Tower condominium interest for approximately $133 million in 2020. As the head of BPM described it, it made strategic sense to take equity from that property and place it in new project with significant upside potential.
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Barclay Grayson, an established presence in the Portland, Oregon, real estate community, oversees the BPM Real Estate Group as senior vice president. Integrally involved in a variety of hotel development projects, Barclay Grayson has a strong focus on trends affecting the hospitality sector, as the US moves back toward a new normal of business openings and resumed travel.
The trends for business travel across the first half of 2021 present a slow, but steady increase that still lags leisure travel. As reported by the US Travel Association in a June webinar, domestic leisure travel has already reached 99 percent of its pre-pandemic levels, while business travel is only at 69 percent. Estimates place the latter sector as attaining pre-pandemic levels in 2024, should current trends prevail.
The impact of this uneven recovery is stark: In 2019, domestic leisure travel generated spending of $724 billion, while business travel contributed $270 billion to the economy. In 2020, the numbers had fallen to $555 billion and $88 billion, respectively. One major issue is that only a third of US businesses are engaging in travel of any sort, due to wildly varying restrictions on large gatherings from state to state. Until restrictions are lifted consistently and safely in most markets, professional events and meetings will continue to lag.
The silver lining is that vaccination rates have exceeded expectations. As a result, a reopening of business travel, and corresponding boost in hotel demand, may occur more rapidly than many expect.
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A longtime Portland, Oregon, executive, Barclay Grayson maintains oversight of development and acquisitions at BPM Real Estate Group. Among the projects Barclay Grayson is shepherding toward completion is Block 216, a downtown Portland luxury high-rise that will include office and residential space, as well as a five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel, and is aiming to open its doors in the post-pandemic era.
The hospitality industry is integrally tied to travel and business trends, and this was highlighted in the 2021 BBB Business Impact Report on travel, leisure, and hospitality. As reported by the Better Business Bureau, significant pent-up demand for domestic travel exists. An Expedia Group survey indicates that 44 percent of travelers plan to extend their vacations longer, or take more trips, than they did the previous year. Another survey by American Express found that 64 percent of respondents would forgo social media for a full month, for the opportunity to travel freely again, as they did before the pandemic.
Speaking with the BBB, the president of MMGY Travel Intelligence predicts a travel boom driven by those who earn $50,000 or more annually. Despite data indicating an increase in this demographics’ travel plans, overall spending on travel will still be down significantly from the pre-pandemic norm. A study by the American Hotel & Lodging Association presents a sobering view, with average hotel occupancy rates of around 50 percent predicted through the end of 2021. The gradual upward trend is positive news for long-term projects such as Block 216, which is expected to open its doors in 2023.
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The senior vice president of BPM Real Estate Group in Portland, Oregon, Barclay Grayson oversees property acquisitions, financing, and developments. Charitably minded, Barclay Grayson has supported various organizations in Portland, including Wilderness 4 Life, an initiative of the Parker Bounds Johnson Foundation.
Operating in cooperation with various Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Program partners, Wilderness 4 Life aims to provide healing experiences for young adults and their families in Oregon and Washington. In addition to grants to help families pay for wilderness programs for young people in crisis, the foundation offers post-program support with Wild Hearts. Created as a supportive space for wilderness “graduates” to continue cultivating their connection to nature, the Wild Hearts program also encourages the formation of friendships with peers.
Wild Hearts organizes half- and full-day hikes as well as weekend excursions that invite graduates’ families to experience the healing power of nature. Hikes are led by a network of volunteers with training in first aid for mental health, and many of them have themselves attended wilderness therapy programs.