City of Portland seeks to sell RiverPlace block
Premium content from Portland Business Journal by Wendy Culverwell , Business Journal staff writer
Date: Friday, March 2, 2012, 3:00am PST
Here’s an opportunity that doesn’t crop up often: The Portland Development Commission is selling a vacant block at RiverPlace in the North Macadam urban renewal area.
Parcel 8 has almost everything a developer could want. It’s near the Willamette River and downtown Portland. It is vacant, clean, fronts the Portland Streetcar and is zoned “central commercial,” which allows a wide range of uses.
The city’s economic development agency announced this week that it is accepting offers for the 48,645-square-foot site at the northeast corner of Southwest River Drive and Southwest River Parkway. Responses are due March 30.
It is selling the property by itself rather than listing it with a real estate firm to avoid paying brokerage fees, said Eric Jacobson, senior project manager.
PDC has owned the site since 1985, when it acquired the site that became RiverPlace in a land swap involving Pacific Power and Light’s former Lincoln Steam Plant.
The site became Portland’s RiverPlace district, populated with hotels, condominiums, apartments, retail facilities and office buildings.
The property was appraised at $4.7 million in 2006. PDC is having it reappraised.
At one point, PDC had an agreement with a developer to construct a residential project on Parcel 8, but that never came to fruition.
The commission is not working with a developer and does not expect to contribute toward any development costs.
PDC reports it has had at least four inquiries about the property.
With development in downtown Portland at a standstill, it is unclear what will become of the site. Portland State University — which wants to expand its campus to accommodate an overflow of students — is an obvious candidate to buy the property, but an official said the college wouldn’t pursue it.
PSU has an active roster of construction projects and an appetite for land to grow, especially toward the river. But Mark Gregory, associate vice president for finance and administration, said it’s “unlikely” the block would be of interest. He said a private developer could potentially be interested in developing student housing.
The site is ready to develop, with utilities at or near the perimeter. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a “No Further Action” determination for the property in 2007 following a $1 million project to remove soil and groundwater pollutants stemming from the former steam plant on the site.
The north macadam urban renewal area, where Parcel 8 is located, was created in 1999 and expires in June 2020.
it comprises about 402 acres.
Wendy Culverwell covers real estate, retail and hospitality.