Mar 20, 2024 - Culture

Portland's mixed feelings on the new Soho House

A photo of a wide brick building with a blue sky and clouds in the background.

Soho House is located in the historic Troy Laundry building. Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Sturman

The new, ultra-exclusive Soho House opened its doors this week (but only to members), and even the New York Times thinks its arrival in Portland doesn't match up with the city's renowned crunchy ethos.

Driving the news: With a healthy waitlist of Portlanders eager to join, it seems Soho House is more than welcome in Rose City.

  • But the majority of Axios readers (68%) who responded to our survey last week reported that they are not considering applying.
  • 27% said they'd maybe consider a membership, while only 4% said they would definitely be applying. About 1% are already members.

What you're saying: "A big investment in the creative class in Portland is a boon for the city after years of decline," one reader wrote.

  • "A welcome option for a city that is growing up," one comment read.
  • Another respondent said, "As a recent transplant from Nashville, I'm excited to see the city get some PR wins in the form of strong brands like Ritz and Soho."

Yes, but: Soho House's reputation as a private club was a deterrent for some respondents.

  • "I'm all for progress and developing our city in new and exciting ways, but it's hard to see how global brands that promote exclusive luxury are going to bring the sort of change we need," another reader wrote.

The intrigue: Over half of survey respondents (55%) said the $487.50 quarterly membership was reasonable, and most thought the rooftop terrace with an infinity pool sounded the most appealing out of Soho House's many amenities.

Flashback: Several readers brought up the Troy Laundry building's nearly four-decade history — starting around 1980 — as an artists' collective space. Over 50 artists were displaced when the building was sold in 2016.

  • Current owners AJ Capital bought the building in 2019 for $15.6 million. Soho House, which is leasing two floors and the roof, then renovated it to make way for its state-of-the-art fitness studio, a coworking lounge and a restaurant.
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