Anyone who's cruised the main drag of downtown Troutdale recently couldn't fail to miss the striking new two-story, wood-and-stone-motif building oriented to the corner of Southeast Dora Avenue and East Historic Columbia River Highway.
Built by Bremik Construction through the past winter and spring, the mixed-use structure is the latest phase of the comprehensive Discovery Block redevelopment. Now seeking tenants, the Southeast Portland-based Bremik proceeded with the building — Phase 4 of 5 — following the quick success of two townhome buildings it constructed adjacent to Second Avenue.
Bremik Executive Vice President Mike Greenslade recently took time to talk about the 12,000-square-foot building and what's next for Bremik in the Discovery Block and downtown Troutdale.
The Outlook: How did the plan for the building evolve?
Mike Greenslade: We were originally looking to purchase the block in 2007, but the recession hit. The opportunity to buy almost a full city block in downtown Troutdale was rare, so we kept our eye on it. We purchased it in 2014. Two founders of Bremik saw the opportunity to develop (so we) partnered with two other colleagues looking to develop and formed Discovery Block LLC.
Troutdale Vision Clinic was always going to stay because it's a historic building, so the plan was to build around it. The first step was to master plan the site (in phases encompassing building demolition, site cleaning and building five townhomes).
(The townhomes) were a new product type for Troutdale. The market reacted positively, so we moved onto the second part of Phase 3 ... building another five homes. We had all units sold before we were done building them. Phase 5 will be the East commercial development (at East Historic Columbia River Highway and Harlow Avenue), roughly 20,000 square feet.
Outlook: How did the building's quasi-rustic wooden design come about?
Greenslade: A Cascadian-architecture design was selected to relate to the Columbia River Gorge. For example, the basalt stone on the front columns and building are the same stones found in the Columbia River. We think the building is beautiful.
Outlook: Are any tenants lined up? How is it being marketed?
Greenslade: There has been a lot of tenant interest. We feel the need for a pub-style/brewery/family-friendly restaurant. The local community and city has strong support for that type of tenant: Wouldn't it be fun to take your family there for dinner and watch the Ducks play on a Saturday night?
It is being marketed through Norris & Stevens.
Outlook: What is Bremik's goal for the project and its relationship to the city regarding the block?
Greenslade: Discovery Block LLC's goal for the block's development is to build a high-quality asset for downtown Troutdale that architecturally relates to the Columbia River Gorge.
We are independent of the city, but we see them as a partner in helping make this project happen, from start to finish. The city is very excited about this new, unique development and have gone out of their way to help move things along. We really appreciate their support.
Outlook: Why downtown Troutdale?
Greenslade: (Bremik) founders have longtime ties to community. Bremik's first office was in Troutdale when we opened in 2004. This is a rare opportunity to develop almost an entire block in downtown Troutdale (with great) proximity to Portland and the Columbia River Gorge. The Troutdale community is growing.
We see Troutdale as a hidden gem. It's really a central hub between Portland, Corbett, Springdale, Gresham and Sandy. Local attractive amenities such as Edgefield, the (Columbia Gorge) outlet mall, Multnomah Falls and the Sandy River are all destinations that draw thousands of people year-round."
Outlook: How does Discovery Block fit with the larger vision for downtown Troutdale? Is it considered a "hot" real estate market?
Greenslade: The central business district and (city of) Troutdale has a very specific design criteria that we have followed, and we believe it fits their vision well. And as we stated earlier, the commercial and residential development is filling a need of Troutdale's. The residential market continues to grow, and there is an obvious need for more of it. Commercial and industrial development seems to continue to expand in this area. New employment opportunities in Troutdale are exponential.
Greenslade: The (Discovery Block) East lot will start within the next year. (Other projects include): Clackamas County Bank on Burnside Road; several projects for Gresham-Barlow School District including North Gresham Elementary, East Gresham Elementary, Hall Elementary and Hollydale Elementary.
We finished building the new Troutdale Elementary School in October 2018.
Outlook: Is there anything to add regarding Discovery Block or the new building?
Greenslade: We think it's a really great space and we look forward to finding the right tenant to add value for this community. Once that happens, we look forward to starting the next and final phase of Discovery Block. We are proud to be part of the community and helping fulfill the vision of the citizens and city leadership for downtown Troutdale.
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