Negotiations are already under way for two new development projects
Contact: Shawn Uhlman, 503-823-7994
On Wednesday, September 4, Portland City Council approved a five-year extension of the Old Town/Chinatown Action Plan, reaffirming the city’s commitment to neighborhood investment, business vitality, and district livability in Old Town/Chinatown.
The original 2014 Action Plan resulted in considerable progress, including the addition of more than 600 living wage jobs, renovation or redevelopment of nine buildings, and more than two dozen new retailers and businesses in the neighborhood. Significant resources remain in Prosper Portland’s budget, however, and the Action Plan extension and priorities have the support of the Old Town Community Association.
Guided by the extended plan, Prosper Portland will work with public and private partners including the Joint Office on Homelessness, the Old Town/Chinatown Community Association, and city bureaus to improve public safety and district livability and attract investment to advance business and property redevelopment.
“I commend the Old Town/Chinatown Community Association and the organizations that have advanced the Action Plan,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “We have made great strides over the past five years, and we recognize that all stakeholders and partners must continue to work together. Through collaboration and commitment, we can achieve the objectives of the Action Plan and live into the vision of Old Town/Chinatown as a vibrant, walkable district that honors the area’s unique historical and cultural relevance.”
While the vast majority of the original Action Plan financial commitment is unspent, Prosper Portland anticipates more demand for its Portland investment as redevelopment projects progress, as they may require public investment to deliver on public benefits, goals for cultural amenities, and parking.
“Old Town/Chinatown has a long history of serving as a multicultural home to many diverse communities and as a gateway to Portland and the Pacific Northwest for immigrants,” said Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam. “With the extension of the Action Plan, we will continue supporting the neighborhood’s cultural institutions, long-time property owners, and entrepreneurs of color and other diverse businesses, while also partnering on new development projects. We are optimistic about the future of Old Town/Chinatown.”
Following comprehensive public outreach and a request for proposals process, two significant projects identified in the Action Plan are moving forward. Prosper Portland has begun the process of due diligence and feasibility analysis with the selected developers for two key sites within the neighborhood, with the goal of reaching binding agreement with each developer in spring 2020.
The agency selected Portland-based Colas Construction, Inc. for the 4th and Burnside property, and Key Development of Hood River for Block 25 (between NW Flanders Street, NW 4th Avenue, NW Glisan Street, and NW 3rd Avenue).
The Colas team includes Bow Leong Bing Kong Tong, Resolve Architecture and Planning, SERA Architects, and Oymitakuye Oyasin, LLC. The team’s proposed development includes office space, cultural space and a mix of residential units, along with ground floor retail.
“We have had our office in Old Town for more than seven years,” said Colas Construction President Andrew Colas. “We believe in this area and we want to invest here. We’re excited about developing a project that will allow us to keep our headquarters in Old Town and at the Chinatown gate to demonstrate our commitment to, and respect for, this significant neighborhood.”
The Key Development team includes two Japan-based design leads, Shigeru Ban Architects and Earthscape landscape design studio, as well as GBD Architects and Andersen Construction. Mitsu Yamazaki and Connie Wohn will consult on tenant programming. Key’s proposal includes two buildings and a public plaza on the three-quarter block site.
Key Chief Operations Officer Claudia Munk-von Flotow said, “Our vision for Block 25, in the heart of Japantown, is about addressing a culture whose presence is underrepresented. We recognize the complex immigrant history of the neighborhood; our proposed programming and architecture supports Japanese businesses and reflects Japanese culture and aesthetics.”