Historic building renovations take shape at new foodie hotspot; renovations are underway at Redd East, the 1918 former foundry that occupies the block between Southeast Eighth and Ninth avenues at Salmon Street

COURTESY: HELDAY DE LA CRUZ/ECOTRUST - Walsh Construction crews are wrapping up work on The Redd East, slated for a community opening celebration in March. The historic building boasts green building features; it will serve as event space and a hub for the local food economy. There's so much development underway in Portland that the two-block campus on Southeast Salmon Street in the Central Eastside hardly stands out.

But by year's end, The Redd on Salmon Street will be a major epicenter for Portland's fresh food economy.

It might just be the most Portland-y part of Portland, with farmers, ranchers, food truck chefs and artisans working alongside bicycle couriers, designers and other creatives.

Now in its final phase of construction after a two-year renovation, the site expected to open its doors for full operation by the end of the year with a combined total of 69,000 square feet of production, warehouse and event space.

It's a project of the nonprofit Ecotrust, which is based at the Natural Capital Center, a landmark green building in the Pearl District.

"The Redd is buzzing," says Emma Sharer, general manager of The Redd. "That a two-block campus can make urban-rural links, catalyze food businesses, inspire fresh thinking and welcome in the public to celebrate and connect — that's the kind of confluence we at Ecotrust believe drives real change."

An event space for all

There are two parts to the project. Renovations are underway at Redd East, the 1918 former foundry that occupies the block between Southeast Eighth and Ninth avenues at Salmon Street.

Redd East will become the event center, with spaces available to rent starting in January, including a large main hall, a tech-enabled boardroom, a generous outdoor plaza, and fully equipped community kitchen event spaces.

It also will be the site of programs, including cooking demonstrations and classes, national conferences and festivals, and pop-up events. A grand opening celebration is set for March 2.

Walsh Construction, which also designed the Ecotrust building, is using best practices to retain the historic features of the Redd East building while integrating design features such as a state-of-the-art solar roof, funded by PGE's Renewable Development Fund that will supply a third of the building's energy; permeable and flexible spaces; natural lighting; efficient fixtures; low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint; and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood — including cedar beams gifted by the Coquille Tribe to Ecotrust.

"Redd East is almost ready for takeoff," says Jeanne Kubal, Ecotrust's director of events and partnerships. "These are inspiring spaces that will be a launchpad for great ideas and meaningful milestones. And what's more, Redd East will also be a platform for partnerships. We're working with a group of diverse, creative caterers and community partners who are ready to pair their talents with the quality ingredients pouring into Redd West from the region's best producers."

Working hub grows

Meanwhile, Redd West — located between Southeast Seventh and Eighth streets on Salmon Street — has been rapidly expanding since opening in 2015.

Portland-based B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery manages 80 percent of the dry and cold-storage space, leasing it to producers such as Ground Up PDX and Cattail Creek Lamb so they can easily operate citywide (cold storage is hard to find in the city elsewhere).

Also based out of Redd West is SoupCycle, which serves happy customers with their weekly soups, salads and sandwiches; and Wilder Land and Sea, a meat and seafood distributor.

Wilder is working with Portland Pupusas and Taqueria, which opened June 1 in the Redd East parking lot, to put local meats on the menu.

"Across the campus, connections are coming together," says Sharer, the Redd general manager. "The table has been laid. Now we need to bring Redd East to completion so the conversation can really begin."

View The Redd

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