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Classic Portland name revived for creative office project to replace windowless Macy's.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOSEPH GALLIVAN  - Macy's will be out by April, to be replaced by open plan creative office space over five floors. The building will be rebranded Meier & Frank, the way it used to be. The Nines Hotel in the top part of the building will remain a separate entity.

The current Macy's building, which also hosts the Nines Hotel, is being rebranded the Meier & Frank building.

Floors one through five of the building will be dedicated to office space with amenities such as a fitness center, 150 bike spaces and showers.

A joint venture between KBS and Sterling Bay of Chicago will start construction when Macy's vacates in April and have tenants in a year later. They specialize in the reuse and rebranding of buildings.

"We believe having the conference facilities of The Nines right there, and Departure and Urban Farmer, we picture spill over into Pioneer Courthouse Square a lot of people who want to have lunch," said leasing agent Trevor Kafoury of CBRE.

Contractor interviews are underway, but no firm has been chosen as of March 21.

Kafoury and his CBRE colleague Kevin Kaufman have been retained to lease the 158,500 square feet of available space.

Going back to the Meier & Frank brand, even though the department store is long gone, is a bid to bring authenticity to the building.

"Meeting your friend under the Meir & Frank clock has been a thing for decades," said Kevin Kaufman, explaining the decision to have the clock front and center in the office lobby. (The Nines and the offices will have separate entrances.)

COURTESY: STERLING BAY  - The new Meier & Frank branded creative offices will replace Macy's in spring 2018

The remodel design is by BORA Architects. Right now the basement has some retail and mostly storage for Macy's. The basement will hold the amenities and one meeting space. The ground floor will be the only story of retail, with Urban Works real Estate yet to announce a tenant.

The 40,000 square foot floor plates are about twice as big as normal for downtown Class A office space.

Renderings revealed by KBS and Sterling Bay (meierandfrankpdx.com) show a transformation of the department store. Macy's windows have been blacked out so as to control the lighting conditions on goods for sale. They will be opened again.

KBS and Sterling Bay paid $54 million for their five floors. KBS Realty Advisors is a private equity real estate company, while Sterling Bay is a real estate investment and development company. The latter offers full service real estate expertise in leasing, design, construction and hospitality. Sterling Bay's portfolio features projects for the likes of Google, Inc., Gogo, Uber and McDonald's Corporation. Their Google building in Chicago turned a windowless cold storage warehouse into Class A office space.

Kafoury told the Business Tribune that they are in talks with a big brand technology company to take the office space.

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