PNCA to acquire main campus building
For almost 10 years, the Pacific Northwest College of Art has leased its space in the Pearl District. As part of its ambitious expansion plans, it will finally purchase the property.
Daily Journal of Commerce
POSTED: 06:00 AM PDT Tuesday, April 15, 2008
BY TYLER GRAF
In the wake of its March acquisition of the federally owned 511 Building, the Pacific Northwest College of Art has expanded its real estate portfolio to include its Pearl District building at 1241 N.W. Johnson St., which it had leased since 1998.
Administrators believe property ownership lifts the college’s profile within the city core.
“We don’t need to have a monolithic 40 acres in a suburban area to be a college,” said Tom Manley, PNCA’s president.
Manley said the acquisition allows the school to leverage its permanent presence in the city, spreading itself out from one of Portland’s newer neighborhoods, the Pearl District, to its oldest neighborhood, Old Town, where the 511 Building is located.
The school began leasing its Pearl District building in 1998, after the former warehouse was redesigned by Holst Architecture. Plans to purchase the property date back to 2005, when a master plan executed by architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture outlined growth goals for the school, including the acquisition of Northwest Portland property.
Cloepfil, who will design the new space, toured the 511 Building and expressed excitement over its possibilities.
Manley says the school’s vision is to create an integrative urban campus unlike the typical American campus. He calls it the European model of interspersing a college campus into “the urban fabric” of the city.
As part of the Pearl District acquisition, the PNCA announced in earnest Saturday that it’s in the process of a $32 million fundraising campaign to signify its 100 year anniversary in 2009. Prior to Saturday’s announcement, the campaign had been moving quietly. The school had already obtained $26 million in fundraising before it made a public announcement.
The $32 million will be used on different aspects of the school’s growth: $12 million for refurbishment of the Pearl District building, $12 million for new endowments and scholarships and $8 million for special projects.
None of the money will be used to acquire more property, Manley says.
“It’s safe to say we’ve identified the two anchors of PNCA’s campus and those will support its growth over the next decade,” Manley said. “Although new opportunities may arise over that time, and though we may be leasing other spaces, we are not in the mode of acquiring more property.”