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  #221  
Old Posted Feb 29, 2012, 7:33 PM
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Portland 'Sustainability Center' hits a wall at the Oregon Legislature
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 6:09 PM Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 8:46 PM
By Harry Esteve, The Oregonian

SALEM -- As the Oregon Legislature struggled toward the finish line, the big issues of the day weren't jobs and health care. Instead guns and the ill-fated Oregon Sustainability Center took center stage.

Lawmakers appeared ready to block funding for what was supposed to become the state's most environmentally advanced building, which supporters -- including Portland Mayor Sam Adams -- hoped to erect at Portland State University.

"I don't expect it will be part of the package," said Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin. Devlin, a key player in budget negotiations at the Capitol and an ardent supporter of the building, said House Republicans have dug in against state bonding for it, effectively killing it.

"I think it's unfortunate, but it's the system we actually have," Devlin said.

His statement came after rumors circulated around the Capitol that Republican House Co-speaker Bruce Hanna, of Roseburg, was adamantly opposed to authorizing bonds for the center, touted as a worldwide model of green engineering and architecture. Nothing moves forward in the House unless it has the blessing of both Hanna and Democratic Co-speaker Arnie Roblan, of Coos Bay.

Hanna, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, reportedly has issues not only with the building itself, but also with incurring more state debt in general.

The $67 million building was supposed to be a partnership of the state, the city and the university. But the state was on the hook for the biggest chunk of funding -- $32 million. Without that money, it's unlikely the building would go forward.

In 2009, the Legislature, which was controlled by Democrats, approved money for the Sustainability Center. Two years later, after Republicans won a 30-30 split in the House, they put state funding for the center on hold after questioning the building's cost and it future use.

In Portland, project supporters remained optimistic.

“Our team is still working hard,” said Amy Ruiz, Adams’ spokeswoman. “At this point, it’s too soon to tell. There’s no indication one way or another, as far as we an tell, about where the OSC funding is going to land.”

Last fall, the Sustainability Center barely made it out of City Hall on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Randy Leonard and Dan Saltzman siding with Adams’ project. But Adams and Leonard leave office in December, leaving questions about future political support by the Portland City Council, let alone the Legislature.

Told of Devlin’s comments Tuesday, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman said it would be “unfortunate” if lawmakers don’t authorize funding. “It’s never over until it’s over,” he said. “Who knows what can happen in the last whirl?”

But even if the Sustainability Center doesn’t survive this year, Saltzman isn’t ready to write off the project altogether, saying new members of the City Council in 2013 could push the Legislature for money.

“It’s still a good project for Portland,” he said. “But there’s a certain window to these things.”

Lawmakers may vote as soon as today on a smaller bonding package that includes money for three new buildings at Oregon State University and one at Western Oregon University.

Meanwhile, it seems the Legislature won't get out of town without a gunfight. Or, at least a fight over gun bills.

At a hastily called meeting, the Senate Rules Committee resurrected two bills that had been previously declared dead for the year. The first shields the names of Oregonians who hold concealed weapons permits. The second would prohibit guns at schools and public college or university campuses.

The concealed weapons permits proposal, House Bill 4045, passed the House by a wide margin but was declared kaput in the Senate. Nonetheless, the bill's primary sponsor, Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, kept working with Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, to change the bill so it would be more palatable to the Senate.

The amended version of the bill would give public agencies some discretion to reveal the name, age and county of residence of a permit holder or applicant under certain circumstances. That includes disclosing the name to those who have written proof that they are crime victims or if there's a "compelling public interest."

Prozanski said he wanted to seize an opportunity. "This was a time to get it done, instead of waiting until January 2013 to start over," he said, noting that there are pending public records requests for the information from The Oregonian and The New York Times and that he believes the 148,000 permit-holders deserve their privacy protected.

Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, was the lone vote against sending the concealed weapons bill out for a floor vote. The committee next turned to a proposal she wanted which would prohibit people from bringing guns onto school grounds. Senate Bill 1594 would still allow a school district, college or university to adopt a policy authorizing people who are licensed to carry a gun to bring it on campus.

Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said the idea missed its target. It will keep law-abiding people from having their weapons but won't do anything to deter criminals, he said. "This bill fails the logic test."

Both bills could get a floor vote as early as today. The school guns bill will likely have a harder time becoming law because it has not had any House hearings or votes.

Legislative leaders are looking to wrap up business either late Thursday or Friday, Devlin said. Once the bonding bill gets a final OK from the House speakers and Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, all the final budget bills can be sewn up and sent to the chamber floors within hours, he said.

-- Harry Esteve

-- Michelle Cole

-- Brad Schmidt

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/i...ty_center.html
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  #222  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2012, 5:06 AM
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I was really looking forward to this one.

Oregon Sustainability Center appears doomed without legislative approval for funding
POSTED: Monday, March 5, 2012 at 02:34 PM PT
BY: Lindsey O'Brien
Tags: Oregon Legislature, Oregon Sustainability Center

The proposal to build the Oregon Sustainability Center, a planned $61.7 million green building showpiece, may be dead in the water. As the short state legislative session comes to a close, it is all but certain that the requested state bonds – which cover more than half of the project costs – will not be approved.

Both of the leaders of the House of Representatives, co-Speakers Bruce Hanna, R-Roseburg, and Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, say there is no chance that the request for $37 million in state bonds for the seven-story project will even make it onto the agenda before the session ends. The session is expected to end Tuesday.

The Oregon Sustainability Center is pitched as the greenest high-rise planned in the country. The 130,000-square-foot project would be the tallest mixed-use building to meet the Living Building Challenge, widely viewed as the world’s toughest green building standard.

Project supporters, including Portland Mayor Sam Adams, say that it would solidify Oregon’s position as a leader in green building, and also create short- and long-term jobs.

But expected high construction costs and rental rates are turnoffs for some of the state’s lawmakers, who contend that taxpayers could be on the hook for millions of dollars if the building weren’t filled with tenants.

“It may be a little ahead of its time,” Hanna said. “If it really pencils out, why wouldn’t the private sector finance and build it?”

The project, planned for the eastern edge of Portland State University’s downtown campus, has three partners: the state, the city and the university system. Without the state bonds, which would be repaid via lease revenues, the project probably cannot go forward.

Roblan, a devoted supporter of the project, said time constraints of the short session combined with Republican opposition to the project made it impossible to get a vote on the bonding package.

“I think we’ve missed an opportunity here,” Roblan said. “We were unable to convince my friends across the aisle of the importance of this particular project and the willingness of the university system and others to get into debt for it.”

Both speakers would need to support the bond authorization for it to move forward in the House, but Hanna has opposed the expense of the building and questioned the high lease prices from the get-go. Last spring, he and other legislators refused to back the bonds to build the center, and asked the project team to answer more than two dozen questions to allay some uncertainty.

The joint Ways and Means committee in September accepted the resulting 100-page report, which made a case for tenancy as well as the center’s comparatively high construction costs and lease rates.

But questions linger in Salem.

“There were some inconsistencies that didn’t help with the progress of the project,” Hanna said, specifically calling out Portland City Council’s narrow approval of the bond levy last September and false rumors about Skanska USA becoming a primary tenant in the building.

Some of the state’s fiscal advisers are wary of the project, cautioning legislators against “getting into the development business,” according to Sen. David Nelson, R-Pendleton, who supports the project.

The capital bonds requested for the OSC are traditionally used to help build university dormitories and student unions.

“The source of the money is really the hang-up on this thing,” Nelson said. “But in my mind, I like to build things, and this project fits in with Oregon’s image of being a green state.”

At press time, representatives from Adams’ office and the Portland Development Commission said it was premature to comment on the looming funding failure, but state-level supporters hope that the OSC team will devise a new plan.

“This project may cost more per square foot, but it will only get cheaper after we do the first one,” Roblan said. “I don’t know whether they will keep going, but I hope they make it leaner and come back and ask again in 2013. It’s one of those projects that will help all Oregonians.”

In a budget note issued in August 2011, the OSC team emphasized that state bonds were critical to project success, but laid out alternatives in case the Legislature didn’t come through during the short session.

Possibilities include constructing a smaller version of a Living Building Challenge building in order to stay on schedule and break ground by the end of 2012; delaying the schedule but moving ahead with the original design; or building a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum-rated building rather than a living building.
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  #223  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2012, 5:27 AM
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It's a disappointment the state won't support it, but I'm not surprised by this move at all.
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  #224  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2012, 4:55 PM
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The conservatives in the house don't support it. If in November the Democrats return to the majority, would funding in January 2013 be too late?
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  #225  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2012, 4:41 PM
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Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2012, 4:39pm PST - Last Modified: Thursday, March 8, 2012, 9:49am PST
Oregon Sustainability Center team to look for private backers
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon

Supporters of the Oregon Sustainability Center say they are still committed to the ultra-green building project and will seek private investors to cover the financing — about $36 million — the group had hoped to secure from state bonds.

"We believe it can still be financed," said Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission.

Quinton pointed to the fact that 74 percent of the building's space has been leased, something that should be attractive to potential backers, but acknowledged that the tenant mix might have to be adjusted.

Financing of the project has always been the sticking point for the Oregon Sustainability Center. The bulk of the backing was to be Oregon University System bonds, the ones nixed this week by the Oregon Legislature. The rest is made up of city bonds, urban renewal area tax-increment financing, tax credits and a land contribution from the PDC. The OSC site — squarely on the Portland State University campus on Southwest Fifth Avenue at Montgomery — isn't included in the recently announced Portland State University urban renewal area. Instead its part of the South Park Blocks urban renewal area.

Conceived of as a showplace for the latest in green building technology, the Oregon Sustainability Center would aspire to meet criteria set up for Living Building certification — aiming for net-zero waste, energy and water use while building the structure with local materials.

The result would be a very expensive building — $61.7 million — sporting the latest in green building technology. Supporters describe the building as an incubator for cutting-edge building materials and an economic development driver.

Quinton said the Oregon Sustainability Center team pursued the state funding with OUS because they thought it was the best fit for the project, which is conceived of as a living laboratory, providing an opportunity for businesses and universities to study tenant behavior and building performance.

Johanna Brickman, sustainable built environment program manager for the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center, said a private investor might not embrace the building's research agenda.

"It changes the game significantly as it pertains to the role of research for the building," Brickman said.

For example, Brickman said she's been talking to a foundation about funding instrumentation for the building that would track its performance. Without a full commitment to support research in the building, she said the foundation is likely to balk at shelling out for the instrument technology.

"Without that backing, we don't have that lab in the building," Brickman said. "It changes the conversation."

Putting a positive spin on the stymied funding situation, Brickman said that the team working on the Oregon Sustainability Center has already learned plenty from the project.

"It's already brought about results," she said. "For us it's more about how we re-purpose what we've done to date to move forward on this project or to find another home for the research agenda."

Sarah Costello, vice president at the Living Future Institute, which operates the Living Building Challenge, said there are more than 100 teams currently working on living building projects.

Financing for the projects run the gamut, Costello said, just like they do in the wider real estate development world — especially in a challenging economic environment.

"Things have gotten really creative all over," she said.

The institute is working with other organizations to develop a better model for properly valuing green building features.

As for the Oregon Sustainability Center, Quinton said the team has fielded inquiries from interested financial backers in the past but held them off pursuing instead the state bond financing.

"We believe there is interest," Quinton said. "There were investors who were curious about the building. We intend to restart those conversations."

http://sustainablebusinessoregon.com...r-team-to.html
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  #226  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2012, 4:04 PM
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An interesting and sobering article

http://www.metropolismag.com/pov/201...ation-for-hire
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  #227  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2012, 12:03 AM
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Oregon Sustainability Center's funding and leadership fluctuates, putting project in doubt
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 4:55 PM Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 4:55 PM
By Beth Slovic, The Oregonian

Mayor Sam Adams is still pledging to build the Oregon Sustainability Center. But the $62 million project's survival has never appeared more in doubt.

And not just because the Legislature this month rejected $37 million in state funding for the project -- money that backers once called "crucial" to the green-energy showcase at Portland State University.

The project's price tag, leadership, timeline and scope are all in flux, although supporters insist that they can attract private financing and keep to a 2013-14 opening.

The seven-story building -- now funded with $17 million in city money and land, and $5 million in federal grants, tax credits and private donations -- would house businesses, environmental nonprofits, university classrooms and city offices.

"It has all the attributes of other buildings that get built commercially," said Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission, the city's redevelopment agency. "Easier said than done, but we believe there are investors out there who have an interest in this building."

Private funding would come at a cost to an already expensive project, however.

Under previous terms of the deal, commercial rents at the building were expected to be as high as $40.25 a square foot, about 50 percent higher than downtown's Class A average in 2011. Nonprofit rents were expected to be $31.75 a square foot, compared with typical nonprofit rents of $20 a square foot. Also, PSU planned to spend about $1 million in tuition dollars to lease space.

Those costs would be even higher with private financing, backers told legislators in a document last August.

"Most other forms of non-public financing would exacerbate already high rents, as public financing carries a much lower rate of interest," they wrote. "The team has explored multiple options to finance this project, including private bank financing. ... In all cases, these alternative scenarios increased costs to the participants, project complexity, and risks."

The Legislature's refusal to authorize state borrowing for the project also prompted a key partner, the Oregon University System, to walk away.

"Moving to 2013 there are going to be other priorities, and the Sustainability Center is not on the list," said Jim Francesconi, an original supporter who sits on the Oregon State Board of Higher Education.

That loss jeopardizes an additional $3 million in state funding that the university system had planned to contribute, meaning the project faces a $40 million funding gap. It also undermines one of the building's chief selling points -- that it holds statewide economic significance.

In addition, without state funding, it's not clear whether PSU would ever own a portion of the building; PSU has justified paying top-dollar rent early on by saying it would use the space rent-free later.

"Ownership is not essential to a project," PSU President Wim Wiewel said in a recent statement, issued through a spokesman. "It's the costs over the lifecycle of the project. And we're in the middle of exploring options with the City of Portland."

On the plus side, contractors have told the Portland City Council that they can guarantee construction costs under $62 million.

Could the city fill in the gap? It's not likely. Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the council's swing vote when it voted 3-2 in September to greenlight the center, put a condition on his support. He said the center could not tap any new funding through the city's urban-renewal districts, the city's go-to source for development projects. A spokeswoman for the mayor, Caryn Brooks, said Adams won't seek to change that.

Funding isn't the city's only hurdle. This month, the project's development director, Robert Frisbee, left after his contract expired. PDC believed his work would be done by now, said Shawn Uhlman, a PDC spokesman. And at least one of the nonprofit directors who helped launch the idea for the center in 2007 has grown weary.

Sean Penrith, executive director of the Earth Advantage Institute, said his nonprofit still wants to rent space if lease terms are manageable.

But no one from the city had looped back to him since the Legislature said no, leaving him unsure what to say about the project: "Other than that I'm exhausted."

-- Beth Slovic

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i...y_centers.html
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  #228  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2012, 4:54 PM
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New Oregon Sustainability Center documents show Mayor Sam Adams' continued efforts to revive project: Portland City Hall roundup
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 9:37 AM Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 9:40 AM
Beth Slovic, The Oregonian

http://blog.oregonlive.com/portlandc..._center_d.html

Quote:
When the 2012 Legislature rejected state funding for the Oregon Sustainability Center at Portland State University, backers at Portland City Hall vowed to find private financing to build the $62 million ultra-green high-rise.

But Mayor Sam Adams almost immediately set about exploring ways to use city money to plug the $37 million funding gap, according to new documents The Oregonian obtained in a public records request.

In fact, in an April email to PSU President Wim Wiewel, Adams proposed using $47 million in city-back bonds to seal the deal -- $30 million more than what the City Council approved last year.

The same email also said that the city would own the entire 130,000 square-foot tower.

That represents another big change. Until the Legislature in March balked at giving state money to the project, the center was to have been a joint venture between the city and the Oregon University System, meaning Portland would have owned only half.

Finally, the term sheet said that PSU would contribute $3 million to the project and commit to renting classrooms in the building for 30 years -- for more than $1 million a year.

Emails from PSU officials suggest they were pleased with that scenario. At one point, they asked Portland officials whether they could rent an even larger portion of the building, the documents show...
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  #229  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 9:43 PM
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Hmmm, hopefully in the future the Oregonian can report about what the mayor's proposal for office space at Gateway is, instead of what the proposal is not.

Mayor Sam Adams proposes moving city offices to Gateway but not the Oregon Sustainability Center
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 2:28 PM Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 2:34 PM
Beth Slovic, The Oregonian

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i..._river_default

Quote:
Mayor Sam Adams wants to move 25,000 square feet of the city's downtown office space to the Gateway Transit Center to spur development around the Northeast Portland hub.

But that space won't carry the infamous name of the Oregon Sustainability Center.

After Adams' plans to build a gleaming, green sustainability center next to Portland State University downtown tanked last spring, the mayor went back to the drawing board, pledging to revive the project. He suggested a new financial partnership with PSU that eliminated the need for additional state support, for example.

Additional documents that The Oregonian obtained in a public records request in June also showed city officials explored moving the center to Gateway, about eight miles away from downtown. But project developers feared that a Gateway version of the center -- so expensive to build that it would require rents 50 percent higher than downtown's Class A average in 2011 -- wouldn't fetch top rents.

Tuesday, Mayor Sam Adams' director of economic development, Peter Parisot, said the city isn't moving the Oregon Sustainability Center to Gateway to create the new office space the mayor wants.

The city faces other hurdles, however.

An April audit showed that the city already has 26,000 square feet of vacant space at a downtown building that it currently owns.

-- Beth Slovic; on Twitter
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  #230  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 10:42 PM
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An April audit showed that the city already has 26,000 square feet of vacant space at a downtown building that it currently owns.
Uhm... what?! Unless they're talking about renting that space for a profit, this makes no sense to me.
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  #231  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2012, 2:49 AM
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Oregon Sustainability Center Lives On:

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i..._river_default
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  #232  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2012, 3:21 AM
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Interesting development...

From the Oregonian story posted above:
Quote:
The latest version, according to Interface's proposal, could be as small as 103,000 square feet, meaning Interface would occupy about a third of the building. It would cost $47.4 million, according to city estimates, and would be backed by $34.8 million in city-issued bonds.

Rent would be $30 per square foot, considerably less than the $40.25 per square foot that the city previously estimated it would cost. The building's smaller size accounts for the difference, said Peter Parisot, Adams' director of economic development.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2012, 1:20 AM
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Mayor Sam Adams kills Oregon Sustainability Center project
Published: Friday, October 05, 2012, 3:25 PM Updated: Friday, October 05, 2012, 5:25 PM
By Beth Slovic, The Oregonian

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i..._oregon_s.html

Quote:
In the end, it came down to simple math.

Friday, Mayor Sam Adams announced he was pulling the plug on his controversial Oregon Sustainability Center proposal, saying he didn't have the votes to land a deal.

"We won't be moving forward," Adams wrote in a press release.

The decision is a clear sign Adams' power is waning as his tenure comes to a close. He leaves office at the end of December after electing not to run for a second term.

For years, Adams was the ultra-green building's biggest champion. But the project hit many roadblocks. Earlier this year, for example, the Oregon Legislature blocked state bonds for the project, yanking a significant portion of its funding.

In response, Adams tried to retool the project -- shrinking its footprint and filling the funding gap with city money. Then, just last month, a private company stepped forward as a potential part-owner. Interface Engineering, however, wanted to move quickly. Meanwhile, Commissioner Nick Fish said publicly that any decision should be put off until the new mayor takes office.

In his press release, Adams said planning for the building helped several local companies hone their expertise. "Just the planning process of the OSC has created new opportunities for the city, the country and the world," he wrote.
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Old Posted Oct 6, 2012, 3:09 AM
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Too bad. I really liked this one. I hope the new mayor revives it.
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  #235  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2012, 5:38 AM
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The decision is a clear sign Adams' power is waning as his tenure comes to a close.
One might argue that Portland's tenure as a national, even global, leader in sustainable urban design and planning is also coming to a close.
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  #236  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2012, 8:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tworivers View Post
One might argue that Portland's tenure as a national, even global, leader in sustainable urban design and planning is also coming to a close.
I don't know if I believe that. I just think this building was a case of bad timing and I don't think it's all bad news that it isn't going to be built. It would have been quite a black eye if it had been built but couldn't find enough tenants because it would be too expensive to lease space there. And it would have been even worse if the sacrifices tenants had to make proved to be too much for most. I'd rather not have it built than have it built and serve as an example of how NOT to do this. Will companies pay a premium to rent space in an exceptionally green building? Some will. But how much of a premium will they pay and what sacrifices will they make? At one point, this building was looking like indoor temps could be too cool in the winter and potentially uncomfortably warm in the summer.

I'll admit, I was hoping to see this get built, but I was also thinking "I sure don't ever want to have to work there."

I know I'll probably get slammed for saying that, but I don't think it's all bad news.
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Old Posted Oct 7, 2012, 3:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 2oh1 View Post
I don't know if I believe that. I just think this building was a case of bad timing and I don't think it's all bad news that it isn't going to be built. It would have been quite a black eye if it had been built but couldn't find enough tenants because it would be too expensive to lease space there. And it would have been even worse if the sacrifices tenants had to make proved to be too much for most. I'd rather not have it built than have it built and serve as an example of how NOT to do this. Will companies pay a premium to rent space in an exceptionally green building? Some will. But how much of a premium will they pay and what sacrifices will they make? At one point, this building was looking like indoor temps could be too cool in the winter and potentially uncomfortably warm in the summer.

I'll admit, I was hoping to see this get built, but I was also thinking "I sure don't ever want to have to work there."

I know I'll probably get slammed for saying that, but I don't think it's all bad news.
That is a really good point, Portland really doesn't need another Portland Building mess that prevents them from pushing for sustainability in future buildings. I think the work that has been going on with the Federal Building is serving as a great example of a sustainability rehab that definitely has a positive reflection of Portland and it even makes a visible impact on the skyline.
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2012, 1:05 AM
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With Oregon Sustainability Center dead, Interface Engineering considers its own 'living building'
By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian
on October 22, 2012 at 5:07 PM, updated October 22, 2012 at 5:36 PM

http://www.oregonlive.com/front-porc..._river_default

Quote:
With the proposed Oregon Sustainability Center apparently dead, a onetime potential partner in the project has proposed its own "living building" headquarters in Portland.

Interface Engineering, a Portland-based firm that specializes in green building design, said Monday it would seek proposals for a highly sustainable headquarters [PDF]. It wants a net-zero living building -- an ultra-efficient structure that generates more energy than it consumes.

Until this month, Mayor Sam Adams championed a similarly ultra-efficient building near Portland State University that would house city offices, non-profits and Oregon public university facilities.

Earlier this year, after the $62 million Oregon Sustainability Center lost the possibility of state funding, Interface emerged as a willing part-owner in a scaled-down project. But the firm's current lease expires in 2014, so it is looking to move into its new headquarters by September of that year.

"Our lease is up in less than two years," said Omid Nabipoor, the engineering firm's president. "We needed the project to go forward if it was going to go forward."

That timeline, given Adams' short remaining tenure in office, proved politically impossible, and Adams declared the project dead earlier this month.

Interface, however, remains interested in renovating an existing building or building a new one that meets the same efficiency goals. It's seeking proposals that meet the net-zero standards are highly preferred, but that it will also consider proposals that meet LEED Platinum certification standards.

Interface said it's open to leasing, but it's also seeking arrangements in which it would be the majority owner of the building. It currently leases 30,000 square feet in downtown Portland and says it would need room for future expansion.

Nabipoor said the company would use its headquarters as a laboratory and showroom for energy efficient systems.

"We believe we can do a sustainable building at sustainable rates. With us being in charge of the design and systems, we hope to get there," he said. "We're open to having skin in the game and equity because we believe in the project."

Nabipoor said the company is not seeking a city partnership, but its announcement noted support from the Portland Development Commission.

Interface has hired real estate firm NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson to solicit proposals and manage the interview process.

–Elliot Njus
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