Portland Development

Portland Real Estate News: Week of June 28, 2019

Renovation of The Portland Building last fall.

Renovation of The Portland Building last fall.

Remember that home I posted about earlier in the week? Abandoned for years but with tons of potential? Already an offer. Guess that’s not surprising. 

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The popular and bustling Curiosities Vintage Mall in Beaverton (housed in a super-boss mid-century building) was threatened with demolition for a parking lot last week. 

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Also last week, Lime scooters came to downtown Milwaukie. Pilot program. I’d say 50% of people want them and others don’t. Just like anything else. 

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Have you been following the Portland Building’s “renovation”? It’s starting to become a bit um complicated. Brian Libby from Portland Architecture writes for CityLab that the work being done on it is “so extensive, it may be de-listed from the National Register of Historic Places.” 

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Metro and TriMet are exploring the feasibility of a MAX tunnel under downtown Portland. An initial study (undertaken last year by TriMet) indicated that a “tunnel underneath the central city could save MAX Blue and Red line riders close to 15 minutes. “ 

New spaces, old places: Blake McFall Building

A weekly look at adaptive reuse projects around Portland and beyond…

Also known as the Emmett Building in Portland’s Central Eastside, the five-story building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by McNaughton & Raymond of Portland and built in 1915, it was added to the register in 1990.

Under construction in 1915.

Under construction in 1915.

Here’s what the Oregonian had to say about it in its July 1915 issue:

The second floor, reached by a fireproof viaduct from Burnside street will contain the offices, salesmen’s quarters, rest rooms and space for sample display and the balance of the building will be given up to general paper storage. 

Total cost: $90,000.

If you’ve been in Portland for any amount of time, you’ll know this building better as the Towne Storage building. Up until a few years back, it was low-rent space for local artists. In 2016, it was retrofitted to include:

seismic strengthening, window sash replacement and refurbishment, brick and stone restoration, a new enhanced exterior entry and main lobby, restoration of the iconic steel water tower, and the addition of a new 8,750 SF Penthouse set-back on the roof with two exterior landscaped decks.

Pre-retrofit.  Source.

Pre-retrofit. Source.

Post retrofit. The water tower was kept intact.  Source.

Post retrofit. The water tower was kept intact. Source.

House of the week: Rare mid-century modern Milwaukie waterfront home for sale

I’m not a Realtor by any stretch of the imagination but if I was, here’s what my ad would say:

Bring your vision (and huge bags of cash)! This 1969 mid-century modern home has sat empty for years and is ready for some love. Think of the possibilities.

Anyhow, I’ve been fascinated with the home for years now. Is it empty? Why doesn’t someone live here? Why is this amazing spot not sold? Is that graffiti on the walls inside?

It’s a real mess.

Doesn’t look very mid-century modern from this angle, but it is…

Doesn’t look very mid-century modern from this angle, but it is…

But? If you’ve got the cash and the constitution, I applaud you. It’s got a lot going for it (like a view of the Willamette). Sadly, an investor probably won’t think so.

Here’s the Redfin ad.

A look at Portland's oldest neighborhood; Widmer closes; Saving the Mayo house

Portland’s North End
If you’re not reading Street Roots, buy a copy from any of its vendors around town. Not only do they report on homeless (and other) issues they do a great job doing it. Proof: this piece on the history of Old Town and how it’s transformed through the years. It’s written by Doug Kenck-Crispin, co-producer of the podcast Kick Ass Oregon History so you know it’s solid.

Widmer pub closes
Some of us were surprised, others not so much: Widmer has shut its N. Russell pub. In 2017, they stopped serving food at the same location. The venerable brewer will still produce beers, you just can’t go to its pub to drink them.

Mayo house saved
What a great story: Local artist saves historic home, will move it to where the family’s long-lost apartment once stood and will renovate it —and open it to the public  “where historians, artists and members of the black community can preserve and create culture.”

 
widmer.jpg

Widmer before it was Widmer.

 

October 2, 2018: Weekly design and building news

Voodoo Doughnut coming to Milwaukie/Oak Grove?
That’s the rumor on the street. The Starbucks on McLoughlin (14620 SE McLoughlin Blvd. to be exact) is moving across the street making room for a huge space that includes the long-ago vacated Pizza Schmizza. And that’s where the new Voodoo would (apparently) go. We’re not convinced.

Doughnuts, booze and dry cleaning.  Source.

Doughnuts, booze and dry cleaning. Source.

The story behind Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
One of our fave places in Portland has a great story on its creation (involving some guerrilla action). Read the whole story here.

"...armed with a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon (we) proceeded to nail up the signs around the wetland perimeter, thereby establishing, by fiat, that we unilaterally declared the city’s first urban wildlife refuge..."

Speaking of nature in the city…
Portland metro is blessed with the green, right? Rivers, trees, birds. And, though not in Portland, a new study says that being near nature and trees lessens depression and crime. And to prove it, researchers added greenery to city vacant lots and saw people using them more and crime declining. Nature for the win.

An unappreciated mid-century spot in Milwaukie

Downtown Milwaukie is experiencing major changes to its downtown core. From the south Downtown area (there’s an actual crane up in Milwaukie) with two huge mixed-use projects up within a couple of years, to a new library, to more mixed-use dotted along McLoughlin, downtown will look different in 2-3 years. It hasn’t seen this much growth and construction probably since after WW2.

That said, Milwaukie has an impressive stock of mid-century ranch homes sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods that have remained unscathed in their original condition.

Many commercial mid-century buildings also dot the landscape from super-mod churches to office buildings to bowling alleys.

One mid-century building still standing is the (now former) Milwaukie Cleaners building. Almost invisible, since it sits on a desolate part of Main street (most people usually drive by it to hop on 99) it was built in 1959 and designed by Joseph H. Rudd & Associates, a Portland architecture firm. The streamlined design and folded plate roof were commonly found on dry cleaners of the time. The space is a bit striking and unusual, most notably that roof.

According to Leesa Gratreak, MS, Architectural Historian, at HDR, Joseph H. Rudd & Associates was started by Joseph H. Rudd in 1950 after completing his degree in architecture at the University of Oregon. Rudd, originally born in Idaho in 1922, was active in local philanthropy and housing boards in Portland, as well as an active member of the city planning committee in Vancouver, Wash. Rudd continued to design with the firm until his retirement in 1990 and he passed away in 2003.

Examples of additional work include Yaw’s Top Notch Restaurant in Portland; quarters for the Sisters of St. Dominic on the Marycrest High School campus in Portland; a U.S. National Bank Building on Division Street in Portland; as well as numerous residential buildings throughout the Portland metro area.

“The building is an excellent example of mid-century plate glass design and exhibits a folded plate roof and decorative concrete block patterning,” says Gratreak. “The roof is considered a common feature associated with dry cleaners as it allowed a wide overhang for items to be safely transferred into the vehicle.”

Once Milwaukie Cleaners closed shop, the future of the building remained unknown. Just recently, tell-tale signs of a new business showed up—brown paper on the windows—with word on the street that new tenants will be involved in the budding CBD industry.

Want to see downtown Milwaukie’s building history up close? Gratreak will be leading a tour of downtown Milwaukie this Saturday. Go here to sign up.

August 30, 2018: Weekly design and building news

Here's a roundup of building, design and development news around Portland. 

The Redd ready to open
The Redd by Ecotrust will take up two city blocks and function as an "urban ecosystem for the regional food economy."  In its final phase of construction, it's expected to open for full operation by the end of the year.  Here's a feature from Lost Oregon a couple years back on its history and vision. 

The red Redd.  Source.  

The red Redd. Source. 

The Portland Plaza gets a facelift
The Portland Plaza just finished its 10-year, $10 million renovation and Brian Libby from Portland Architecture has an in-depth look. 

When it was completed in 1973, just three years after the Keller Fountain (known then as the Forecourt Fountain), the idea of contemporary or luxury living in Portland, especially in a tower, was new.
Portland Plaza and Lawrence Halprin's Keller Fountain put on a show via a postcard.

Portland Plaza and Lawrence Halprin's Keller Fountain put on a show via a postcard.

O'Bryant Square closed until ...2023?
The DJC is reporting that the redevelopment of downtown Portland's O'Bryant Square may take until 2023. The public space has been shuttered since March due to structural issues. The fence is so welcoming, too. 

O'Bryant Square in better times, circa 1976.

O'Bryant Square in better times, circa 1976.

Urban walking isn’t just good for the soul. It could save humanity
That's not my headline —it's from the Guardian, and it's a good one. The nugget: walking around cities is good for your health and it's good for the businesses that inhabit downtowns. You just don't see the details when you're driving. Case in point: Hopping off the Orange Line at PSU yesterday to watch the Timbers (win, whew), we strolled up Jefferson to the Goose Hollow Inn for a pre-match beer. The furthest I'd been up Jefferson was OHS, but as we walked I was surprised that I'd never been on this stretch before. Just when you think you've seen every block in downtown.

Event amplification: My Existential Crisis and Other Random Acts | Martha Schwartz

You might have already seen this event being promoted but just in case. 

Portland Design Events is presenting Martha Schwartz of Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP)—a leading international design practice whose work focuses on activating and regenerating urban sites and city centers—with a two-part presentation on 9/13. 

The first part will be about the work of Martha Schwartz Partners that spans from the very early installation works to the most recent work being done by the practice. The work will show an evolution of scale and approach to design.

The second part of the presentation will be sharing Schwartz's concerns about climate change and the conflicts this knowledge has brought which has resulted in the re-evaluation of her own priorities as a professional. Here's her take: 

I'm in a transition now as I am beginning to learn more about climate change and how we, as a practice, might fundamentally change our approach to design. As a teacher, my goals have shifted to teaching students how we, as landscape architects, can respond meaningfully to climate change.

I'm not a designer or an architect but this sounds interesting for everyone that cares about how our cities and spaces are going to be designed. Go here to sign up!

On display: Vintage 1970s Douglas Fir model of downtown Portland

This totally escaped my radar but there’s a vintage 1970s Douglas Fir model of downtown Portland on display as part of Converge 45’s installation of Ann Hamilton's, Habitus, at Centennial Mill through September 16.

In the early days of Portland’s downtown renaissance, Portland planners created a civic ritual for thinking about new development: including this crafted Douglas fir model of the city. For years, as a requirement of design review, developers and architects were required to bring any proposed downtown building, scaled in white cardboard, and place in the city model.

Randy Gragg is currently working on an exhibit idea to combine it with new “models” of other districts of the city—current or aspired to—for Design Week Portland 2019.

If you’re not busy 8/28 or 8/30, Gragg will also be presenting some ideas to “inspire community groups, developers, designers and leaders to think about the larger context of their districts and their city.”

Here’s a quick schedule

August 28: 5:30-7 pm, Tuesday, August 28—Short talk at 6

August 30: Noon-1:30 pm—Short talk at 12:30

Where: Centennial Mills, NW Naito Parkway & NW 9th Avenue (Look for the signs leading to Converge 45 and Habitus)

Please RSVP: randygraggprojects@gmail.com

A stroll through Portland's West End

James Cook, director of retail research in the Americas for JLL, has an interesting podcast called Where We Buy, “a show about the things we buy and the places we buy them.”

Source. 

Source. 

In his most recent episode he explores Portland’s West End with Jonathan Ledesma, a partner with developer Project^. They talk about the challenges, opportunities and the transformation of the West End through adaptive reuse.

Union Way: The shops may have changed since its opening,  but the design still shines. 

Union Way: The shops may have changed since its opening,  but the design still shines. 

The two projects highlighted include Blackbox, a retail and creative space in a historic brick building, and Union Way, the shopping alley that connects two streets through two former night clubs. I'm probably not the target shopping audience for Union Way but I still love its aesthetics, the vibe, the design (those flush-mounted floor lights...), and the fact that it magically empties out to Powell's (how convenient). It's the perfect example of a building being reborn as a fun and useful space. 

Grab a beverage and give the episodes a listen.

Crowdfunding a neighborhood hang-out: Ye Olde Towne Crier

Crowdfunding for retrofitting local buildings is one intriguing idea. I like it for a couple of reasons: One, the return is making your own neighborhood better or more livable and two the return is pretty immediate. You invest in a building around the corner, you can see the work being done daily. I also like it because you don’t have to invest handfuls of cash—for a crowdfunding site like NextSeed, the minimum is $100. Throw in an adaptive reuse component and it sounds even more appealing.

Rendering of the new version.  Source.

Rendering of the new version. Source.

This brings us to a local project in Portland (in Woodstock): the Ye Olde Towne Crier (you might know it better as Grandma’s, copious smoking, and karaoke). Here’s the scoop: Tacee Webb, who has a 19 year career in retail, real estate and retail development, is retrofitting the space and naming it (actually going back to its original name) Ye Olde Towne Crier. The goal is to retrofit it “as a multi-level ode to Portland’s past and its current residents, a place to chat and dine among one another and enjoy the city’s brightest talent.” 

So, why NextSeed? According to their website, “investing isn’t just for Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Everyone can now access exclusive investment opportunities and build a financial portfolio with local businesses.” The company focuses on helping consumer-facing, brick-and-mortar businesses in the food and beverage, health and wellness, fitness, hospitality and co-working industries.

Towne Crier, 1953.  Source. 

Towne Crier, 1953. Source. 

And, according to Webb, by using NextSeed, “the risk is being absorbed so you don’t have to lose your house. It’s a higher risk for start-ups; this lets them get investors in a less riskier way.” 

The project currently has raised $13,900 by 30 investors.

Webb hopes the Towne Crier will become a community gathering and destination spot as well as a local hangout for students of the Reed College neighborhood and locals from the Creston-Kenilworth community. The attached Treasury Cafe and Lounge will provide morning-evening service. Nighttime entertainment will include live music and whisky tastings featuring local musicians and artisans. Preeminent spirits expert Stuart Ramsay will oversee curation of the bar program.

“There are so many stories and it feels like a patchwork quilt that’s perfect for a community project," says Webb. "There are many former customers in their 60s and 70s that have some great stories and we think it will help provide a sense of a place for them." 

The new space will also be a sort of repository for lost Portland restaurant artifacts: The stained glass windows are from Embers, the vintage neon Lounge sign (and its HVAC system) comes from The Overlook, while chandeliers from Der Rheinlander will grace the ceiling. 

If you’re interested in helping fund the project (or any project), NextSeed provides some pretty decent details, from key terms, location analysis, and revenue sharing summary.

If you’re interested in retrofitting an old building in your own neighborhood, NextSeed is a good start. It doesn't actually finance real estate purchases (Webb owns the building; she purchased it in 2017) but it can help you get on the path, and you’re going to need to be nailed down with your financials and have some semblance of a business plan (this is real estate, not a widget you’re working on). 

Parting advice from Webb: “Have a strong team and partners. I’m not a restaurateur but my partner is. That’s been so helpful.”

Podcast interview with Kevin Cavenaugh (and insight on his Fair-Haired Dumbbell)

I first learned about developer Kevin Cavenaugh’s work years ago when I was managing editor of a building trade magazine that focused on development, building techniques, and exciting topics like new siding and decking materials. (Kidding aside, I loved every minute of it.)

His Box + One project was – at the time – revolutionary here in Portland. With its garage door windows and boxy exteriors– now commonplace – and small footprint of space, the project helped elevate an entire neighborhood. Other projects soon followed, some smaller, some larger all under his company name, Guerrilla Development.

Since I’m keenly interested in small-scale, incremental projects that change neighborhoods for the better, whether that’s restoring an existing building – something Kevin says should be and could be done on any building, I was wrong in thinking that he intentionally built smaller projects. He talks about why he builds small – and not huge projects.

This podcast (Built Blocks) was originally produced by me last year —look for a revamped Small-Scale City podcast soon. 

Milwaukie Bay Park is back

OK, it really never went away but to the casual observer nothing much has been going on since the initial grand opening three years ago. Since then, the grass has yellowed and the geese have pretty much been chased away. Now, it's ready for the next steps: the final design phase.

It's been a piecemeal process.  The Klein Point Overlook was constructed (it offers a nice vantage point where Johnson Creek meets the Willamette), then a new boat dock and boat trailer parking were constructed, then restroom facilities built, and finally a connection to the Trolley Trail. Next up: A bank restoration project will begin this year, and even more park improvements will soon be planned for construction in 2020.

The  survey asks : "Pick 2 photos that show how you would like artistic elements, history, and local character to be incorporated into the park." Answer: More techno!

The survey asks: "Pick 2 photos that show how you would like artistic elements, history, and local character to be incorporated into the park." Answer: More techno!

Construction on final park improvements is expected to begin by summer 2020, but first, the city of Milwaukie is looking for community feedback.

JLL Completes Sale of Indigo @ Twelve | West

Hot of the press (release):

JLL’s Capital Markets experts today announced the sale of Indigo @ Twelve | West, a mixed-use property in the vibrant West End district of Portland, on behalf of an ownership group represented by Gerding Edlen and Downtown Development Group.

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 1.47.37 PM.png

Developed in 2009 by Gerding Edlen and designed by ZGF Architects, this dynamic mixed-use building offers 273 modern apartments, 85,000 square feet of creative office, 321 underground parking stalls, and curated, street level retail under one green roof. The anchor of the West End neighborhood, with its prominent, skyline-defining wind turbines, and incomparable multifamily amenities, Indigo is an iconic property that has consistently performed at the top of the Portland market.

The transaction was conducted through the combined efforts of the JLL Northwest Capital Markets team. The commercial side was lead by JLL Managing Directors Buzz Ellis and Paige Morgan, and Vice President Adam Taylor, while Senior Vice President Mark Washington and Managing Directors David Young and Corey Marx led the multifamily team.

Opening the Locks at the Willamette Falls? Maybe.

The Willamette Falls project is one of the biggest undertakings the Portland metro area has seen. It's had some bumps and stops along the way (that's an understatement) since the paper mill closed in 2011 but for the most part, it's back on track.

First up will be a new riverwalk, with plans designed by Snøhetta. Then it's anyone's guess what will happen next, from mixed use something-something, condos, shopping. It's going to change the McLoughlin corridor, from Milwaukie to Oregon City. If you've ever driven on McLoughlin and seen the car lots, strip joints, this is a good thing. 

And, just last week it was announced there's yet another new plan: Possibly reopening the decommissioned Willamette Falls Locks. The Willamette Falls Locks Commission (appointed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown) is working to advise state, local and regional stakeholders on the "development and implementation of policies relating to the repair, reopening, operation and maintenance of the Willamette Falls navigation canal and Locks."

The Locks are currently owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who shuttered the Locks in 2011. But, according to a Local Economic Potential Study conducted by ECONorthwest, Oregon could see tremendous economic benefits from recommissioning the Locks. The study found that over the next 30 years: 

  • Transportation benefits of $12-$49 million
  • Recreation benefits of $12-$50 million
  • 80,000-220,000 truck trips removed from Portland area roads
Source.   Stern-wheel steamboat Grahamona in the Willamette Falls locks, sometime between 1912 and 1918.

Source.  Stern-wheel steamboat Grahamona in the Willamette Falls locks, sometime between 1912 and 1918.

Reopening the Locks and returning navigational access around Willamette Falls holds tremendous historical and cultural value to Oregonians, and to the state’s Native American tribes.

Plus? It'd be cool to travel past the Falls and beyond in the Willamette in a boat or on a kayak, right? Crossing our fingers on this one and we'll be writing much more on this amazing project.

 

Milwaukie mystery structure

Celebrate Milwaukie's Facebook page posted an interesting pic of a half-built commercial structure. Looking like a cross between a building kit, a Q-Hut and a 1950s sci-fi movie spaceship, the modular structure is located on King Road just east of the Milwaukie line.

37582223_1888104451229041_116541699898998784_n.jpg

What makes it even more intriguing is that, at one point, the location (or at least close to it) was going to be the new home of Clay's Smokehouse when they closed on Division. (They're back on Division and killing it.) The property on King was dormant for years, until the structure just kind of appeared a couple months back.

We checked records and found nothing. 

Gerding Edlen will lead development of OMSI property

Yeah, it’s not exactly “small-scale” but it’s worth noting (and we’ll definitely be following and posting more) since it has the potential to completely change Central Eastside.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) announced today it has selected the master developer with whom it will partner on the development of its 18-acre riverfront campus: Gerding Edlen. They’ll provide strategic support and guidance for the OMSI team, working with them and other firms on a long-term vision for the development of the site.

Multiple firms, including many local entities, will be part of the development team led by Gerding Edlen and will play important roles in the development of the OMSI property including SERA Architects, The Farkas Group, URBAN.SYSTEMS, and Long Haul Capitall

Source. 

Source. 

Next steps for OMSI and the Gerding Edlen team include a planning process, which will lead to an application for a Central City Master Plan and a Development Agreement with the City of Portland for public infrastructure. Gerding Edlen will also begin to work with its team to develop innovative infrastructure solutions that they hope to implement as part of the redevelopment.

Read more about the project here and here.

Next steps for Westmoreland church property: 31 townhomes

Last night, the SMILE Land Use Committee invited the developer to present their proposed conceptual framework to build 31 townhomes on the site of the Tenth Church of Christ Scientist at 5736 SE 17th Avenue. I attended it with Matt from SUM Design Studio + architecture (thanks for the heads-up, Matt!). 

Architect and developer Cody Johnecheck walked the committee and local citizens through some of the details of the project. Here are some of them

  • Five buildings, 31 units (townhomes), with some three-story and some shared courts
  • A public access street for non-residents that connects SE 17th and SE 18th
  • One (or maybe 2) parking spots per unit; guests will park on the street
  • Based on the dimension plan, they'd like to keep three of the larger trees and incorporate (according to Johnecheck they've "proposed" keeping them to the city, the city could deny, so...)
  • The project, if approved, will be completed in three years; townhomes are expected to go for the mid $500,000s
  • The style will be contemporary or transitional 

Next steps: Since this is a Type 3 project, there will be a public notice generated and more opportunities to comment during the land use approval process.  

Interesting note: The SMILE presenter says there are "1,000 units in the pipeline" in Sellwood-Moreland, including 304 parking spaces, or a 25% increase in more housing. 

31 units and five buildings. 

31 units and five buildings. 

New timber building breaks ground in Central Eastside

Beam Development and Urban Development + Partners (UD+P) continue to transform the Central Eastside with District Office, a six-story mass timber creative office building located at 525 SE MLK Blvd. With construction underway, the project features ground floor retail, open office floorplates, generous ceiling heights and innovative, double-height indoor/outdoor deck spaces.

The mass timber project is underway just as another timber building was scrapped. 

The mass timber project is underway just as another timber building was scrapped. 

Hacker Architects designed the project and will be moving its headquarters to the top floor of District Office upon completion in late 2019 with Andersen Construction building the project and JLL leading the leasing efforts.

“As one of the first development companies to recognize the potential of the Central Eastside and help pioneer its transformation, we anticipate District Office will serve as a catalyst for the revitalization of the emerging Grand/Stark corridor,” said Beam Development Principal Jonathan Malsin.

With 72,000 square feet of office space, District Office offers an extensive list of best in class amenities such as highly efficient mechanical systems, indoor / outdoor lounge space with operable windows and abundant natural light.  The innovative design includes a 40’ column-to-window span to maximize floor plan flexibility and allows for efficient open or private office layouts. In addition, the building will be built with cross-laminated timber sourced in Oregon, which is a highly durable and resilient type of mass timber construction that achieves larger spans, beautiful exposed structure, lower environmental impact and benefits the rural Oregon economy.

“This project prioritizes year-round usable office space that feels connected to the outdoors,” said UD+P Principal Eric Cress.“ With the massive windows and location in the heart of the Central Eastside, District Office is going to be an outstanding place to work.”

The new space will add 9,500 rentable square feet of ground-floor retail space, encompassing dining and retail, to the district to provide building tenants and the community with social and recreational features amongst the professional environment. District Office also offers onsite parking, showers and lockers, and bike parking for its users.

“The Central Eastside continues to see an amazing progression of placemaking for some of Portland’s most dynamic businesses,” said JLL Managing Director Jake Lancaster.