The Rise Central is about to rise in downtown Beaverton
Two new mixed-use buildings with all the fixings (dog and bike wash stations, retail, office, live-work units and bike storage a walkable distance from the MAX) are underway — in the suburbs.
As part of the Beaverton Central development, a compilation of projects located at the former Westgate Theater property and The Round, construction is underway on two mixed-use buildings — called The Rise Central — which will include 230 residential units and 5,000 square feet of office space and retail space on the ground floor.
Kali Bader, vice president of Rembold Properties, said they got in on the project when the city sent out a request for proposal.
"There's not a lot of higher-end, or sort of urban buildings in Beaverton — a lot of it is that garden walk-up type unit," Bader said. "I think (this building) is well-received: we're offering what you could find in Portland for a much higher price or in Orenco, which is much further out. You can get what you could get in those locations, but in a much better location in Beaverton."
Rembold also built The Rise Old Town in Beaverton along Southwest Angel Avenue through another RFP process with the city. It was completed this February, and is already 90 percent leased.
"We've lived in Beaverton for most of our lives — my sister and also my dad run the company — we all grew up here and my kids go to Beaverton School District," Bader said. "We've been keyed in on that region and the city specifically because if you look at it, it has a walkable downtown, small grids, a great library and park, good schools, restaurants are starting to come more, there's a big drumbeat coming in that old town and stretching over to where The Round is that will revitalize that whole area."
The entire Beaverton Central development is nearly a 12-acre area, planned to further city priorities and initiatives in creating a vibrant city center by increasing the number of people living, working and visiting the downtown area.
An upscale business-class hotel, Beaverton Center for the Arts and a publicly owned parking garage are also in the Beaverton Central plans, but are behind the Rise Central's two buildings.
Bader's favorite part of working on The Rise Central has been "all those people living there and how excited they are about this living environment, dog wash, bike lock, all that stuff you can't find that easily (and) seeing how well-received they've been from the mayor all the way down to the retail that we've just gotten leases signed for at our Old Town project," she said. "We're bringing hopefully not only upwards of 300 new residents or potentially relocated residents, but an urban building that creates more intrigue in that area."
Bader said at first, it was a struggle to get outside investors interested in Beaverton, but her family's conviction to the area made it possible.
"There's a really large fitness center, some live-work units, walk-up townhomes, studios, ones and twos (bedroom apartments)," Bader said. "Anybody could find somewhere they wanted to live in the buildings."
Site sat vacant for more than a decade
The Rise Central's two buildings, east and west, are located where the old Westgate Theater was demolished in 2006, next to the site reserved for a hotel which is about three-quarters of an acre.
In the residential space, 215 of the units will be rented at market rate, and 15 will be listed at affordable rates for families making 80 percent of the median income. The two buildings will occupy a total of about three acres of land.
"After the old Westgate theater got torn down, the City bought it along with Metro to try to get some multi-family model stuff in there," Mayor Denny Doyle said. "We're starting to finally make that happen and the City's now the sole owner of the property."
About two-thirds of this site will be housing in the two new apartment buildings under construction, and the last third is currently planned to become a hotel.
"Right now they're just pushing dirt, they just started a few weeks ago," Doyle said. "The last hiccup they had, they could not find an available fence to put around the property until the last couple of weeks. Good for the economy, but it makes it hard to get going."
Doyle expects the project to bring 230 families to the downtown core, creating a new urban lifestyle in downtown Beaverton.
"We're trying to get a mixture of housing there which is really exciting — we haven't done that before," Doyle said.
As for the hotel, the goal is to begin construction on the hotel by early summer 2018.
"We are continuing to work with Canterbury Hotel Group on a 120-room hotel on the southeast corner of the Westgate property," said Cheryl Twete, community development director for the City of Beaverton. "We have an exclusive negotiation agreement with Canterbury and hope to enter into disposition and development agreement in late fall."
She remarked, "I am so excited because for us, this is really the creation of a new downtown for our community, really creating an urban center that's vibrant and a place for people to live, for people to work, for people to recreate, and it really compliments a number of other things happening in the area such as a major upgrade to Cedar Hills Crossing shopping center, which is just a couple blocks away."
Alongside the group of developments, a roadway is being extended.
"We're going to push a street through on the north side to make things flow," Doyle said.
An important transportation factor goes alongside this new urban creation: the Red Line MAX plans to extend its service from the Beaverton Transit Center all the way to the Washington County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro this fall.
"That's really important because here at The Round, we're at the Beaverton Central light rail station, but the Red Line stops one station back at the Beaverton Transit Center," Twete said. "Getting the Red Line to come … further west is a really important thing for the community."
The bus service transit system just east of the location is TriMet's busiest.
"The restaurants here are excited about it, we're up to a lot of good stuff," Doyle said. "We're finally starting to see stuff shake and bake. It's real positive, the Rembolds have been great to work with, they built a retirement project on the north side of the city — they do great work, we're really pleased and tickled."
There are also plans for 30 food carts along Southwest Millikan Way and Rose Biggi Avenue, which is slated for an upcoming October completion.
"I'm getting really excited for our community to have a beautiful new food cart pod, a place for people to get something to eat, it's probably going to have a bar and entertainment from time to time — just another gathering spot for the community," Twete said. "There's a lot of energy happening here at The Round. We're very hopeful that in about three or four years, this area looks very different."
The project is expected to take 18 months until completion, near the fall of 2018.
By Jules Rogers
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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