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Portland city officials have chosen a Bay area affordable-housing specialist to own and run a 365-unit mixed-income apartment project in the South Waterfront community.


The $93 million development is expected to bring 203 units of new affordable housing plus 162 market-rate units on the city's 2-acre parcel at 2095 S.W. River Parkway.

San Francisco-based Bridge Housing Corp., which specializes in affordable housing, will team with Portland developer Williams & Dame on the project. They were one of three groups vying to buy the land from the Portland Development Commission and build the project. Apartments will be built atop 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and include 238 parking stalls.

The project resulted from contentious negotiations among city leaders and affordable housing advocates, revolving around the city’s failure to meet its own housing goals for the South Waterfront area. Some feared the sprawling new neighborhood on the Willamette River would remain a mecca for affluent residents — much of it financed by city urban renewal funds.

But the heated discussions resulted in a promise to build this project and at least one additional affordable apartment complex on land owned by the Zidell family in the South Waterfront area, near the Ross Island Bridge.

Williams and Dame will handle construction, permitting and other development work, said Shawn Uhlman, spokesman for the Portland Development Commission. Bridge will arrange financing and ultimately own the project outright, Uhlman said.

The parties still need to ink a memorandum of understanding to buy the land from the PDC. The city urban renewal agency will then conduct due diligence, assuring the developers and the project will succeed, then bring a sale agreement for approval to the PDC board.

The project will include up to 90 units for households earning less than 30 percent of the Portland area’s median family income — $23,250 or below for a family of four. The remaining affordable units will be targeted to those earning 60 percent of median income or less.

Home Forward, the local public housing agency, dedicated 80 rental assistance vouchers for tenants at the project, including 10 for homeless veterans.

The development, located in the North Macadam Urban Renewal Area, will receive at least $19 million in city subsidies, from money set aside to promote affordable housing in urban renewal areas.

“We are especially excited about the mix of two- and three-bedroom units proposed by the Bridge team, which will allow more children and families to benefit from the great livability and opportunities of the South Waterfront,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman in a news release announcing the deal.

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