March 29, 2010

The transformation of a former gas station into the June Key Delta Community Center is moving ahead after years of planning, with the help of a PDC loan and grant package. The project, located at 5940 North Albina Avenue in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area, will provide outreach services and programs to a broad range of residents, and has been championed by the Portland chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a predominantly African-American women’s organization committed to education and public service.

The sorority will augment its own investment in the estimated $900,000 construction costs with PDC’s Commercial Property Redevelopment loan and Storefront Improvement and Community Livability grants to renovate and expand the existing building into a community center with a meeting hall, display space, kitchen and accessible rest rooms.

“PDC is committed to strong, sustainable communities as the means for economic development,” said Bruce Warner, PDC Executive Development. “The June Key Delta House is exactly the kind of project we hope for when envisioning livability grant recipients.”

Named for a sorority member who recognized the potential of the N. Albina property as a community center and encouraged its purchase in 1992, the June Key project meets numerous goals outlined in both the city’s economic development strategy and the Interstate URA plan.

“Our collaboration with PDC has offered opportunities to learn and work together using a solution-focused approach,” said sorority president Marian Gilmore. “PDC’s financial support for June Key Delta House Community Center will enable us to create a sustainable, living building for the community and enhance our chapter’s commitment to transform lives and impact communities.”

The project design as currently funded is expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification; sorority members are raising additional funds for the costs of solar panels and rainwater harvesting required for the project to exceed LEED and meet the Living Building Challenge. The general contractor for the project is Colas Construction, Inc, a locally-owned firm, which expects to begin construction in late April.

Project architect Mark Nye said, “The development of the June Key Delta House has been a long one and PDC has offered support over the years in the form of advice, project management mentoring, and of course, funding. Although the process to complete the financing application was rigorous, it has strengthened the project by further defining project goals and ensuring we have the best opportunity to meet the Living Building Challenge and contribute to economic development through strong sustainable communities.”