Bob Ball is back with a new Pearl project
Portland Business Journal by Wendy Culverwell , Business Journal staff writer
Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 9:28am PST
Developer and one-time mayoral candidate Bob Ball is back in the spotlight and ready to dig dirt — in the Pearl District.
Ball said Monday he will build a 177-unit luxury apartment project in the Pearl in answer to a blistering 2.37 percent vacancy rate.
The announcement signals a return to real estate development for Ball. Ball has kept a low profile since 2007 when he played a key role in exposing Sam Adams’ relationship with a teen during the run-up to the 2008 mayoral election.
Ball, who like Adams is gay, reported rumors of Adams’ relationship with then teen-aged Beau Breedlove. Adams denied the relationship. Ball was widely discredited and his own mayoral ambitions were shelved. Adams went on to defeat Sho Dozono to become mayor.
The truth — that Adams indeed had a relationship with Breedlove — didn’t come out until after he took office in 2009. He apologized then survived a criminal investigation and two recall attempts. He is not seeking a second term.
In one of Ball’s first public moves since the scandal, he said he will construct The Parker in the block bordered by Northwest Pettygrove, Quimby, 12th and 13th streets at the north end of the Pearl District. The site currently is occupied by a warehouse. The Eugene-based owner, Evergreen Galway LLC, paid $6 million for the property on Oct. 21, 2005.
In a rare move for a developer, he pointed out that the project will generate about $2.4 million in permit and other fees for the city that Adams now oversees. The project budget was not immediately available. Ball said only that it will be “privately funded”.
Architecture firm Fletcher Farr Ayotte has designed a six-story building around a courtyard. Amenities include 181 parking spaces, a workout facility, coffee bar, 180 bicycle stalls, a dog-washing area and a bicycle repair station.
The project is designed to qualify for LEED Platinum status.
Ball, CEO of Astor Pacific, has developed a series of residential projects in the Pearl District.
The Wyatt, a 244-unit condominium building, was his last major project. The property at 1221 N.W. Marshall St. opened in 2008 and is operating as an apartment building.
He is one of just a few developers with concrete plans to answer soaring demand for rental units in Portland, one of the nation’s hottest markets for multifamily real estate.
Across Portland, the average apartment vacancy rate was 3.44 percent in a fall survey conducted by the Metro Multifamily Housing Association.
It was even tighter in Northwest Portland, which includes the Pearl District. The average vacancy rate was 2.37 percent and the average asking rent for a one bedroom one bathroom unit was $1.94 per square foot or about $1,550 for an 800-square-foot unit.
“I wanted to create a building of distinction and The Parker will deliver quality apartments at a time when the rental market is tightening,” Ball said in a press release.
Wendy Culverwell covers real estate, retail and hospitality.