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Keep Portland Weird: 8 Inspiring Adaptive Reuse Projects


Much like the rest of the cities along the West Coast, Portland has reason to worry over its vulnerability to seismic threats. Many of the city’s landmarks do not meet current earthquake standards, which is why developers are focusing their resources on retrofitting and adaptive reuse projects. Converting an aging building into modern office or retail space is also a less costly option than starting a new construction from scratch, and it’s also a way of preserving architectural gems that showcase the history of Rose City.

We enlisted the help of Yardi Matrix data to compile a list of eight notable adaptive reuse projects that are breathing new life into the Portland commercial real estate market. Check them out below:

1Albers Mill Building1200 NW Naito Pkwy

[caption id="attachment_10629" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Albers Mill Building - before Albers Mill Building – before[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10611" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Albers Mill Building - after Albers Mill Building – after[/caption]

(before: The Oregon Encyclopedia; after: Yardi Matrix)

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Located right on the banks of the Willamette River, the Albers Brothers Milling Co. building is a recognizable landmark on Portland’s historic skyline. Originally built in 1910 by the German-immigrant Albers brothers, the historic building at 1200 NW Naito Parkway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and converted to office space in 1989. Totaling 134,522 square feet of space, the Class B Pearl District property is currently owned by the Bill Naito Co., and subject to a 40-year, unsubordinated net ground lease held by the State of Oregon. The lease expires in 2029.

2Montgomery Park2701 NW Vaughn Street

[caption id="attachment_10624" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Montgomery Park - before Montgomery Park – before[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10623" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Montgomery Park - after Montgomery Park – after[/caption]

(before: Naito Memorial; after: Yardi Matrix)

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Encompassing more than 850,000 square feet of space, the former Montgomery Ward & Company Building was the largest building in Portland when it was completed in 1920. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the property served as a Montgomery Ward mail-order catalog warehouse and department store until 1985. Bill Naito Co. acquired the nine-story, Class A building in 1984, renamed it Montgomery Park and proceeded to convert it to modern office space. The $30 million redevelopment project transformed the aging building into a mix of retail, office and conference space, with the help of SERA Architects and P & C Construction Co., according to Naito Development.

3Brewery Block 21120 NW Couch Street

[caption id="attachment_10627" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Weinhard Brewery Complex, 1911 Weinhard Brewery Complex, 1911[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10626" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Brewery Block 2 Brewery Block 2[/caption]

(before: Capital Taps; after: Cairn Pacific LLC)

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The history of the striking red brick brewery complex in the Pearl District goes back a long way, to the early 1900’s. The building is part of the former Henry Weinhard Brewery Complex, which, alongside the neighboring A. B. Smith Automotive Building, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building now known as Brewery Block 2 was built in 1908 to meet the demand of the booming Weinhard Brewery empire, and was converted to office space in 2002. The 10-story Class B property, totaling 219,876 square feet of rentable office space, is currently owned by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and managed by JLL. Brewery Block 2 has earned LEED Silver certification from the USGBC and includes 28,124 square feet of retail space.

41010 Flanders Building1010 NW Flanders Street

[caption id="attachment_10631" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Ballou & Wright Building, 1986 Ballou & Wright Building, 1986[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10632" align="aligncenter" width="606"]1010 Flanders Building 1010 Flanders Building[/caption]

(before: Next Portland; after: Google Street View)

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Located at 1010 NW Flanders St. in the Pearl District, the five-story mid-rise is currently being converted into modern office space, with owner Specht Properties at the helm. Built in the early 1920s as the Ballou & Wright Company Building, the property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, and is one of the city’s best preserved warehouses. The Flanders Street property served as home office and warehouse for the Ballou & Wright Co., a leading wholesaler of bicycles, motorcycles and automobile parts in the area that ceased operations in the 1960s. The historic landmark is located on the Portland Streetcar Line, right next to Hanna Andersson’s original flagship Portland retail store, and nearby a plethora of other shopping destinations.

5Washington High School531 SE 14th Avenue

[caption id="attachment_10634" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The original Washington High School built in 1906 The original Washington High School built in 1906[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10635" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Washington High School today Washington High School today[/caption]

(before & after: Washington High School)

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Built in 1906, the original Washington High School building was destroyed by a fire in the early 1920s. A few years later, a replacement was constructed at the site, which housed high school students up until 1981, when the school closed down. The building was left vacant for many years, until its conversion to office space in 2015. Classrooms were transformed into office space, while the building’s 500-seat auditorium was converted to a music venue dubbed Revolution Hall. The property is currently owned by Venerable Properties, has 18,000 square feet of retail space, and features a tenant roster that includes New Seasons Market and creative agencies such as Murmur Creative and Copius.

6New Market Theater115 SW Ash Street

[caption id="attachment_10638" align="aligncenter" width="600"]New Market Theater, 1873 New Market Theater, 1873[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10637" align="aligncenter" width="600"]New Market Theater today New Market Theater today[/caption]

(before: Library of Congress; after: Yardi Matrix)

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Built in the 1870s, the New Market Theater is one of Portland’s most prized historic gems. In its heyday, the colorful, ornate building housed a produce market on the ground floor, while the second floor was home to a 1,200-seat theater. Located at 115 SW Ash St. in the lively Old Town/Chinatown district, the building was converted to industrial space in 1887 and then converted to office space in 1983. The Class B, garden-style property owned by Swift Real Estate Partners now features 77,000 square feet of rentable office space and 500 square feet of retail. Amenities include a fitness center, bike storage, on-site parking and management, as well as easy access to popular nearby destinations like the Portland Saturday Market, the Society Hotel and Waterfront Park.

7The Ford Building2505 SE 11th Avenue

[caption id="attachment_10641" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Ford Building - before The Ford Building – before[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10640" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Ford Building - after The Ford Building – after[/caption]

(before: Intrinsic Ventures; after: Yardi Matrix)

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Constructed in the early 1910s, the Ford Building at 2505 SE 11th Ave. served as the only assembly plant for Ford automobiles in Oregon, producing the popular Model T. The three-story, Class A building was converted to office space in 2007, and is currently under the ownership of Intrinsic Ventures. The Southeast Portland asset now houses a blend of creative offices, retail space and artists studios, boasting a tenant roster that includes Ford Food + Drink, Blaq Paks, Vinnie’s at the Ford and Pushdot Studios, according to the owner’s website.

8Galleria Building600 SW 10th Avenue

[caption id="attachment_10644" align="aligncenter" width="530"]Olds, Wortman & King Building Olds, Wortman & King Building[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10643" align="aligncenter" width="529"]The Galleria Building The Galleria Building[/caption]

(before: PdxHistory; after: Yardi Matrix)

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Located in Portland’s West End submarket, the Galleria Building at 600 SW 10th Ave. is another prized part of the city’s history. Built in 1910, the former Olds, Wortman & King department store was the first retail store in Northwestern U.S. to take over a full city block. The department store ceased operations in the early 1970s, and the property was subsequently acquired by the Bill Naito Co. and renamed The Galleria. Often referred to as Portland’s first shopping mall, the revamped Galleria opened its doors to clients in 1976, to great success, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. The building underwent redevelopment in 2009, turning the third to fifth floors into 130,000 square feet of rentable Class B office space.

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