Demolishing Wild Bleu to make room for 'Madras' living room'
If you see fire engines and crews in turnouts at the vacant Wild Bleu at 225 Southwest Fifth in Madras, not to worry. It's probably a drill. Investor/Developer Andre Jackson is allowing Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 to train in the building before he has it torn down. Mark Johnson with the fire district says it will be great training. "We'll advance hose lines up through the stairway into the bedroom," said Johnson. "Do you want us to remove the roof? Put holes in the floor? Remove windows?" he asked Jackson on a Zoom call. "Do as much as you feel you need for your training because it's just going to come down anyway," answered Jackson.
Jackson plans to put up a two story restaurant in place of the Wild Bleu, with an amphitheater in the courtyard, along with space for food trucks. "Let it be like the living room of the city," said Jackson, "a place where they feel comfortable and hangout that I believe is kind of missing in some ways."
He see's the amphitheater as a place for people to showcase their artistic talents, for high school bands to compete, for musical concerts. Jackson also has designs on a parcel down the street at 330 Fifth Street, next to Spiffy Car Wash. There he plans to build a three-story ten-unit apartment building with commercial opportunities on the ground floor.
He's hopes an attorney will locate an office there, a real estate agent, and an eatery. "A café bar, a place to grab a cup of coffee, meet a friend, hang out, have a drink and an appetizer for happy hour."
The fire district will train at that location as well, until it's time to tear down the current structure. He can't apply for permits on either construction project until July 15. Jackson has had his eye on Madras for a while. "I think Madras is going to be a gold mine," he said. "It has what it needs to be a destination, not just a place you go through." Jackson claims Homer Williams as one of his mentors, the architect for several projects in Portland: Forest Heights, the Pearl District, and the South Waterfront. "That's what we're trying to bring to Madras," he said, "in the appropriate scale."
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