August 16, 2010

Tuesday, August 17 marks the grand opening of Caffe Viale’s new location – one that will seem quite familiar to many long-time Portlanders. The new café is housed in a 1970s-era TriMet bus shelter located on Southwest Fifth Avenue between Salmon and Main streets.

The bus shelters along the transit mall were upgraded as part of the MAX Green Line project. Project managers decided during construction that one of the 42 historic shelters designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill should be preserved in some manner.

“The opening of a new small business is always good news,” said PDC Project Manager Eric Jacobson. “It is especially gratifying that one of the historic shelters could be reused and now contributes to a revitalized transit mall for the next generation.”

The café’s new home in the restored bus shelter measures less than 100 square feet and will provide walk-up service only. “Everyone pushed to keep this project moving forward,” said café owner Nicole McClelland. “We can’t wait to greet our first customers in this one-of-a-kind location.”

“This is an absolute hometown homerun,” said project consultant Tad Savinar. “It involves a local small business owner, great public-sector partners, innovative design and construction and it supports our goals for a vibrant downtown.”

TriMet, which estimates that more than 90,000 riders visit the Transit Mall each weekday, was pleased to donate the shelter to preserve a part of the original transit mall.

The team that collaborated on the project included Caffe Viale, PDC, TriMet, Portland Mall Management, Inc., Shiels Obletz Johnsen, Inc., Shorenstein Realty Services L.P., Hennebery Eddy Architects and Howard S. Wright Constructors.