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  #901  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2012, 9:54 PM
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MacDonald West update 2-11-2012:

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  #902  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2012, 9:55 PM
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Blanchett House update from 2-11-2012:

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  #903  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2012, 8:11 PM
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MacDonald West 3-3-2012:

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  #904  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2012, 1:23 AM
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Blanchett House 3-11-2012:

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  #905  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2012, 4:39 PM
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^Didn't that project just start? That's some quick progress...
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  #906  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2012, 6:10 PM
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McDonald West from 3-11-2012:

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  #907  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2012, 7:58 PM
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Eww, 5 stories of CMU blocks? Really?
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  #908  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2012, 3:41 PM
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Developers agree to renew Old Town Chinatown, but not how to do it
POSTED: Monday, March 12, 2012 at 03:02 PM PT
Daily Journal of Commerce BY: Lindsey O'Brien

Redevelopment of Portland’s oldest neighborhood has been a piecemeal effort for years, but project by project, the face of Old Town Chinatown is continuing to morph. Now the question is whether a united vision is possible for the area.

Developers soon will have access to a new survey of several hundred buildings on 43 blocks in the neighborhood, and some say it will be a useful tool for planning future projects. But the survey has reignited conversations about the challenges of redeveloping an area with a diverse cultural past, a blighted reputation, and strict regulations because of its historic status.

“That area is definitely not finished,” said Anne Naito-Campbell of Bill Naito Co., which has invested in the development of Old Town Chinatown for more than 50 years. “The city and developers have done block-by-block improvements, but hopefully this study will help us come up with new ideas.”

Development has been bolstered by the Portland Development Commission’s Downtown Waterfront urban renewal area, but money is dwindling.

“There’s probably PDC resources to do one more sort of large play (in Old Town Chinatown),” said Lew Bowers, director of PDC’s Central City team. “You need to prioritize, get around one project and say ‘yep, this is it.’ ”

Without the aid of the PDC, some stakeholders, including developer David Gold, are calling for property owners and developers to become more involved in projects that will help the community make progress.

University of Oregon graduate students are producing the in-depth development study, which will be presented March 21. The uses, condition, height, ground-floor activity, history and several other metrics will be documented for each building.

“A lot of people are watching,” said Howard Davis, a UO architecture professor. “When you’re trying to move forward with so many projects, the more information you have, the better.”

The new development study inspired Naito-Campbell, daughter of late real estate mogul Bill Naito, to spearhead a public discussion. Last week, 14 influential developers, architects, city officials and other Old Town Chinatown stakeholders laid out some of the difficulties and opportunities in the district.

The conversation, moderated by Peter Englander of the Portland Development Commission, revealed that the appropriate size and massing of new development in the district remains a divisive topic – some prioritize the district’s historic scale, while others want increased height limits.

“People continue to debate it because there’s no resolution from the city council,” said developer Art DeMuro. “My position is that (Old Town Chinatown’s) strength lies in its historic identity as Portland’s oldest commercial center, and that identity is defined by its collection of cast-iron architecture, its scale as a turn-of-the-century commercial hub, and its location on the riverfront.”

DeMuro’s company Venerable Properties last year purchased a parking lot in a prime location between the Burnside Bridge and the Skidmore Fountain Building. Though he says his plans for Block 11 are in the earliest stages, DeMuro emphasizes that future construction will involve “compatible infill.”

“My experience in historic redevelopment is that the greatest success in revitalization occurs when unique identity can be reinforced and strengthened,” he said.

But Gold contends that height limits – 75 feet for some blocks in the neighborhood – are preventing development.

“If you can only build a three-story building, you’re not going to get a surface parking lot owner to develop it,” he said at the panel discussion. “I’ve said to people at the PDC, ‘You’ve got to help me because I cannot go to my deathbed owning a full block of surface parking in Portland – it’ll kill me.”

Gold for years tried to bring Seattle-based Asian grocer Uwajimaya to the district; however, the effort ultimately fizzled, and now he is converting the former Grove Hotel into an international youth hostel with ground-floor retail.

While Gold has a vision for development of the surface parking he owns in Old Town, he said they bring in too much money to warrant a project subject to 100-foot height limits.

“I’m all in favor of appropriate sizing for the buildings in Old Town Chinatown in the historic district, but you can’t set up policy that basically stymies all development on a small lot; the city needs to come up with other incentives,” he said at the meeting.

Several ongoing planning efforts and university collaborations may produce new ideas for the district. The UO architecture students in the fall will collaborate with Tokyo’s Meiji University to analyze several Old Town Chinatown development scenarios, including the possible addition of a Japanese-style gate into the cityscape.

“They will be hypothetical projects, but looking at them could help move the conversation about height restrictions forward,” Davis said. “I don’t know if there’s a way to keep both sides happy, but I like to imagine there is.”

http://djcoregon.com/news/2012/03/12...-how-to-do-it/
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  #909  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 1:19 AM
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New Old Town housing 3-24-2012:

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  #910  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 1:29 AM
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Update for MacDonald West 3-24-2012:

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  #911  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 1:29 AM
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Update for Blanchett House 3-24-2012:

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  #912  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 6:20 AM
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That MacDonald West building sticks so much further up from the roofline of the other buildings, it reminds me of Vietnam or something. It just looks odd.
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  #913  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 4:44 PM
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Quote:
That MacDonald West building sticks so much further up from the roofline of the other buildings, it reminds me of Vietnam or something. It just looks odd.
Or maybe Japan. I'd accept that comparison. All it needs is a little penthouse set back from the front with a nice rooftop garden and some signage on the side.

Really its exciting to see that form of building as infill in American cities, even if it has replaced something else. We've had so much full-block upscale condo buildings, but what made downtowns in the golden years was how every little lot could support a multi-story building.

Of course I'm no Portlander. Back to lurking...
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  #914  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 8:40 PM
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Oops, not enough money for the Grove hostel, either:

http://djcoregon.com/news/2012/03/26...ostel-on-hold/
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  #915  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2012, 2:35 AM
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Womp, womp, WOMP.

Is is always such a titanic battle against budgets for every little dag blang development, or is Portland special in this regard? Even with a $2.5 million loan locked and loaded? I don't get it.
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  #916  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2012, 11:15 PM
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MacDonald West 4-8-2012:

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  #917  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2012, 3:55 AM
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Blanchett House 4-21-2012:

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  #918  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2012, 3:56 AM
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MacDonald West 4-21-2012:

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  #919  
Old Posted May 4, 2012, 6:12 PM
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Has Old Town reached a tipping point?
Portland Business Journal by Wendy Culverwell , Business Journal staff writer
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 2:37pm PDT - Last Modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012, 10:35am PDT

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/...&ed=2012-05-02

Quote:
Is Old Town Chinatown at the tipping point?

It could be years before the question is answered with any degree of certainty. Still, investments in Old Town are adding up, hinting at a future that doesn’t rely solely on social service agencies that dot the district or its reputation for drug-related crime.

The University of Oregon moved to Old Town in 2006. Mercy Corps made Old Town its headquarters a short time later. The Portland Development Commission calls it home. The Max light rail line traverses the neighborhood.

The city of Portland teamed with affordable housing advocates to install the Bud Clark Commons residential project near Union Station. Even the train station has a new roof and a few other upgrades befitting its iconic status.

And the newcomers keep arriving...
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  #920  
Old Posted May 4, 2012, 6:15 PM
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Colleges reshape North Park Blocks
Premium content from Portland Business Journal by Wendy Culverwell , Business Journal staff writer
Date: Friday, May 4, 2012, 3:00am PDT - Last Modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012, 1:58pm PDT

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/...ks.html?page=4

Quote:
Specialty colleges are staking their futures in downtown Portland’s edgiest neighborhood.

The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine , the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Pensole Footwear Design Academy have or will soon join the University of Oregon near the North Park Blocks in the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood.

The latest arrivals will add more than 1,000 college students and hundreds of instructors and staff members to an overlooked neighborhood on downtown’s northern edge.

It’s “absolutely” good news, said Paul Verhoeven, executive director of the Portland Saturday Market and co-chair of the Old Town Chinatown Neighborhood Association’s land use committee.

...

Enter the 511 Building. Four years ago, the U.S. General Services Administration awarded the historic building to PNCA under a program that donates surplus property to schools.

The federal law enforcement agencies that used the building have slowly been moving out. When the last one leaves this year, PNCA will invest some $30 million to transform the dreary-looking structure.

PNCA will likely sell its current building in the Pearl District.

Thanks to new arrivals such as OCOM and PNCA and others, the North Park Blocks and Old Town are at a tipping point, said Scott Andrews, chairman of the Portland Development Commission and president of Melvin Mark Property Management Co. Cos.
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