Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Ankeny Project spans 11 blocks in southwest Portland

COURTESY: DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT GROUP - The 11 projects of the Ankeny Blocks are spread from West Burnside to SW Alder Street and Naito Parkway to SW 5th Avenue. Sizes range from a quarter to a full block.Doug Goodman began to buy properties across downtown Portland in 1968 simply to protect his parking business from rent increases on the lots that his City Center Parking company operated.

Over decades, Goodman and his family amassed dozens of properties across the city’s core. The parking operation was sold to a Canadian company several years ago, with the Goodman family retaining the underlying land.

Now they’re set to embark on one of the most ambitious real estate development plans that the central city has seen. With the Ankeny Blocks project, many of those surface lots will, over time, be transformed into mixed-use developments that are expected to add thousands of jobs, retailers, and housing units to the downtown core.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN M. VINCENT - The Ankeny blocks are being planned by the Goodman familys Downtown Development Group. Working on the project are (l to r) Mark, Matthew and Greg Goodman.The Ankeny Blocks project spans 11 quarter- to full-block parcels, all located in the quadrant between the Morrison and Burnside Bridges and Southwest Naito Parkway and Southwest Sixth Avenue.

The Goodmans expect that it may take decades to see the project meet their vision.

Together, the parcels total 225,000 square feet of surface parking lots, but they can support more than 4 million square feet of development. A recent policy change will allow five of the buildings to climb as high as 460 feet. For comparison, that’s between the height of the Pacwest Center and the KOIN Tower. Some others in the development will be limited to 75 feet, due to their locations within the Skidmore Historic District.

“Our investment horizon is decades and generations, that’s what we think about,” says Matt Goodman, vice-president of Downtown Development Group LLC and grandson of Doug Goodman. “We want to do our best to cultivate something that is going to have a meaningful, positive impact, not just from an investment standpoint, but for the neighborhood and the city.”

It’s not that the Goodmans aren’t excited about getting started on the project, it’s just that they’re not looking at it the way that an institutional investor would. Most investors would see each of the projects separately, and would be looking at an investment horizon of seven to ten years, according to company co-president Greg Goodman. “That’s not the model we’re looking for,” he tells the Business Tribune.

Instead, the Goodman family see the project as more cohesive, and aren’t looking to make a quick buck and run. They’re looking for partners who share that long-term vision. “We like to be curators,” he says.

RENDERING COURTESY: DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT GROUP - The new gateway to Portland for vehicles coming off of the Morrison Bridge (at left) will be a new public market and Block 38 of the Ankeny Blocks development. This rendering does not show the final design of the new buildings, but is meant to illustrate their scale.“We’re not looking to remake this neighborhood, we think that the bones of the neighborhood and the existing character and infrastructure is great,” says DDG co-president Mark Goodman. “What we’re trying is to figure out how these new developments can complement the neighborhood and make it better.”

While their Downtown Development Group will be working independently on three of the lower height projects in the neighborhood, they’ll be seeking partners to work on the taller buildings.

Block 38 is an example of the guidance that the Goodman family would like the project to reflect. It’s one of only three full-block parcels available for development all the way from Southwest Market to Northwest Everett, and it’s essentially Portland’s front door as vehicles cross over the Morrison Bridge.

They’ve been approached by developers looking to create all-office buildings, and they’ve rebuffed those advances. Instead, they’ve commissioned drawings that show a ground-level grocery store, with several floors of open-design office space above, capped off with several more floors of residential development.

“I think you never want to focus on an isolated way on a particular property, you always have to realize it’s the sum of the parts,” says Greg Goodman. They ask how does everything play with one another so that you can create a great neighborhood in a Portland way. “We know we want it mixed use, we know we want some owner-occupied, we know we want a grocery store, so you just can’t start lopping off pieces,” he says, “all the properties depend on the success of the others.”

The neighborhood is already home to some of Portland’s more innovative businesses, including Puppet Labs, Airbnb and Squarespace, but the Goodmans hope to add more and larger innovative companies to the development mix. They’re hopeful that the shear scale of the project will attract large companies to the area, and they’re planning for some of the building to have the wide-open floor plans that young enterprises desire.

Another key to the success of the project is the continuing trend of younger workers to want to live closer to where they work, and who are critical factors to the revitalization of many downtown areas.

“They like the energy of being in an active neighborhood, working in a place where there’s already an amenity base,” says Mark Goodman. “This Ankeny Blocks concept hinges on the way that young people want to live and work.”

Historic thoughts

Instead of looking at the location’s historic heritage as an impediment, the Goodmans say that they embrace the historic district because it gives the Ankeny blocks the diversity of architecture that is going help lead its success.

“You look at south waterfront, and it looks like it was all shaken out of the same bottle. Like what you’re going to have happen at the (redeveloped Portland main) post office — it’s all going to be the same vintage,” says Mark Goodman. In the Ankeny Blocks you can expect to have historic quality buildings a block away from edgier, more contemporary glass buildings.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN M. VINCENT - The current view looking west on SW Stark Street shows a surface parking lot where a new high-rise will emerge as part of the Ankeny Blocks development. Project managers hope for a mixed-use building on the site, with a grocery store, office and residential space.“You’ll have kind of the juxtaposition of the old and the new,” says Greg Goodman.

Peggy Moretti of the historic preservation organization Restore Oregon looks forward to the development of the surface parking lots, which her organization see as disrupting from the historic nature of the Skidmore Historic District. “The trick is having that development be compatible with the neighborhood,” she tells the Business Tribune.

“For a long time we’ve been advocating for appropriate infill on those lots,” she says. The Ankeny Blocks buildings within the Skidmore Historic District will be subject to a 75-foot maximum height and have to adhere to the district’s historic guidelines.

Moretti hopes that the building designs find a way to echo some of the area’s historic elements, and the openings of the buildings follow the rhythm of the neighborhood. “What would be really, really fabulous is if someone can reuse some of the cast iron that was recovered off of old buildings and is in storage,” she says.

Food Carts

Following the announcement of the projects, some started lamenting the imminent loss of downtown food cart pods, but Mark Goodman wants to put their minds at ease.

“Stuff’s going to happen at a pace,” he says “where if I’m a food cart I’m not worried.” They understand that the carts are part of the fabric of Portland and they plan as one lot closes for development, another will open on the next block, and when that closes there will be another next to it that’s still going to be a haven for food carts.

They’re also looking at long-term opportunities for food cart vendors, including possible micro-restaurant spaces on the lower floor of an apartment building on Block 31.

“If I’m a food cart owner, I’m excited about the increased density and the additional opportunity to serve a building full of people or people living next to me on a 24/7 basis,” says Mark Goodman. “It should really be a winning situation for the food carts. When people are living there, the lunch food cart becomes a lunch and dinner food cart.”

Family Heritage

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN M. VINCENT - Development of the Ankeny Blocks will eventually displace some of Portland's food carts, but developers say that the project will have a long time frame, and there are many surface lots where the cart pods can reassemble.Downtown Development Group co-presidents Greg and Mark Goodman are sons of founder Doug Goodman, and Matthew is a grandson.

“Essentially, every site here has been in my family for a long time, and that we really owe to my father,” says Mark. Doug Goodman is still intimately involved in the business and works to set its strategic direction.

His first lot was on the site where the Hilton Hotel stands now, and the business grew from there to incorporate many of downtown’s surface lots.

“Even though my grandfather’s presence in the office isn’t what it once was, his presence in terms of how we conduct ourselves and how we do business, he’s still ever present,” says grandson Matthew. “He never looked at anything as a quick buck, he looked at doing things over an extended period of time, and that philosophy has carried on.”

The Ankeny Blocks

Developer: Downtown Development Group

Sites: 11, in quarter to full-block lots

Current area: 250,000 square feet

Development potential: More than 4 million square feet

Boundaries: SW Naito Parkway, SW 5th Avenue, SW Alder Street, West Burnside

Potential building height: 460 feet on five lots

Opportunities: Mixed-use, office, retail and residential

Website: or @OregonsCarGuy on Twitter

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