The latest plan to develop Centennial Mills in the Pearl District has fallen through. Prosper Portland, which owns the site, said their chosen developer Lynd Opportunity Partners had pulled out.
After a show-and- tell in July 2018, San Antonio, Texas-based Lynd Company went into due diligence period. Plans included office and condo towers and vague talk of reusing the only remaining significant structure, the former flour mill, known for its signature water tower. Lynd stopped returning reporters calls by Christmas.
Prosper Portland revealed on April 18 that Kimberly Branam, the executive director of Prosper Portland, wrote to the council on April 17:
"Hello Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners,
Prosper Portland recognizes Centennial Mills is a key opportunity site for the City of Portland. We have been working diligently to pursue full development of the site in a way that optimizes residential and commercial development and land value in alignment with both the Centennial Mills Framework Plan and Central City 2035.
In early 2018, after issuing a call for offers to develop the Centennial Mills site, Prosper Portland selected Lynd Opportunity Partners as the development partner for the property.
Since that time the agency and Lynd have engaged in extensive negotiations to refine the development proposal and reach agreement on deal terms and next steps.
Unfortunately, last week Lynd representatives declined to submit a revised letter of interest on the property, citing concerns about their ability to deliver a project that met the city's requirements and expectations. Since making their initial offer that formed the basis for their selection, both Lynd's development program and financial terms had changed significantly. Key challenges included:
Cost of renovation and reuse of the Flour Mill and mixed support for partial remnant concept;
Cost of environmental remediation; and
Waterfront development constraints and complexity of regulations."
The letter concludes on a hopeful note:
"Prosper Portland received considerable interest from the development community in its initial solicitation for offers. We are planning to reengage with the community and potential development partners to determine a path forward and shared vision for success at Centennial Mills.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss next steps in more detail.
Previous flopped deals with LAB Holdings in 2006 and Jordan Schnitzer's Harsch Investment Properties in 2013 ended unceremoniously. Lynd had not returned calls by press time Tuesday. SERA architects worked on the master plan and design.
Kurt Schultz, SERA principal, said in a staement, "Prosper Portland and Lynd worked really hard trying to make this deal work with all its unique challenges. We hope this historic site will still be developed in the future to link our growing city to the waterfront."
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