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Portland-based firm names four new owners and marks its 25th anniversary

It's been 25 years since Holst Architecture was founded and 2017 marks a major turning point for the firm's future.

This month, Holst Architecture's ownership was turned over to Kim Wilson, Kevin Valk, Dave Otte and Renée Strand. SUBMITTED: HOLST ARCHITECTURE - This month, Holst Architectures ownership was turned over to (from left to right) Renée Strand, Kevin Valk, Kim Wilson and Dave Otte.

"It's really exciting, the four of us are extremely pumped about what's going to come in the future," Otte told the Business Tribune. "We've been planning this for awhile, it's nice to have it finally here and we're ready to focus on what's happening next."

Holst Architecture was founded in 1992 by John Holmes and Jeff Stuhr in an attic. Now, the firm employs 37 professionals in Portland's Central Eastside and has been recognized in more than 50 national, regional and local awards.

"We actually started a strategic plan four or five years ago with John and Jeff, the previous owners, and part of that strategic plan was working on ownership transition," Otte said. "This is something that's been in the works for quite a while, it's been a very careful process."

The four new partners have 54 years of combined architectural experience. The plan for Holst's future from here includes various upcoming projects in Oregon and Idaho that will be educational, commercial, affordable housing, nonprofit projects and hospitality space.

"Not much is going to change. We're going to keep doing the same types of projects we've been doing, with the same groups of clients we've been working with repeatedly," Otte said. "We want everybody to know that we're still doing everything we've been doing, we just have different owners now and we're super excited — it's going to be business as usual."

Otte himself is the architect on the 1400 Lloyd project, replacing the Lloyd Center IMAX surface parking lot.

"Absolutely I'll stick with my projects and my clients, and 1400 Lloyd should be starting construction here in a couple of months," Otte said. "We're finishing up the building permit right now, have land use approval, design review complete and are working through the final details with the building inspectors and plans."

1400 Lloyd, which includes close to 700 residential units, was approved before the City passed the inclusionary zoning policy, which would have required a percentage of units to be rented as affordable instead of market-rate.

"Inclusionary zoning is having a big affect on the city — I heard 14,000 units got turned into the City (trying to get permits) before the change takes place," Otte said. "It's going to be quite a workload at the city for quite awhile."

By Jules Rogers
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While 1400 Lloyd — a superblock project in an iconic district — is likely to make waves, Holst's completed signature projects include: SUBMITTED: HOLST ARCHITECTURE - Holsts signature projects include the 2015 One North building.

  • 1998: Pacific Northwest College of Art. Holst's first major commission.
  • 2000: The Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center. Built for Ecotrust, this adaptive-reuse project was the first LEED Gold historic renovation in the nation.
  • 2005: The Belmont Lofts. This multi-family development set the bar for density and urban living on Portland's east side.
  • 2008: Hotel Modera. Transformed from a motor lodge into a boutique destination, Holst created a courtyard out of a parking lot.
  • 2009: Ziba Headquarters.
  • 2011: Bud Clark Commons. Combating homelessness with this landmark building, it includes comprehensive social services, shelter and deeply affordable housing.
  • 2013: Karuna House. This residential construction maximizes energy efficiency in a passive home that creates more electricity than it uses.
  • 2015: One North. This mixed-use hub is for creativity and community, and has a low-carbon footprint.
  • 2016: Open School East. In Rockwood, struggling kids can re-engage with academics and the community, adjacent to the Boys and Girls club coming this year — also designed by Holst.
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