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Where the Original Taco House closed on Powell is a shopping area that is about to be revitalized

RITA A. LEONARD - The former Original Taco House building at 3550 S.E. Powell Boulevard will soon become Johns Marketplace, part of a new 2.8-acre mall to be developed at the site. Powell Boulevard in Inner Southeast appears to be becoming a shopping destination. Recently a "mini Target" store opened just east of Cleveland High School, and now a 2.8 acre shopping area where the Original Taco House closed last year – at S.E. 35th Avenue at Powell in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood – has been announced as the planned location, with massive rebuilds and landscaping, to become a new center for restaurants, a food cart pod, and retail activity spaces.

Agent Mark New of the "Development Co. of the West, LLC", has announced plans to convert the site, with massive rebuilds and landscaping, into a mall that's a center for restaurants, a food cart pod, and retail and activity spaces.

"None of the current businesses will remain," reveals New. "There will be parking on both sides of the development, which includes the Gold Bowl and Trillium buildings. Trillium will leave later this year, and Rose City Strip will as well. We're currently working on a name for the project, which will depend on whether the City of Portland lets us use some of the historic signage.

COURTESY OF DEVELOPMENT CO. OF THE WEST - Heres an overhead view of the proposed malls plan, provided by the developer."After we obtain the final permits from the City," he continues, "We'll be under construction for about a year. The Creston-Kenilworth Neighborhood Association has been very cooperative and great to work with. We're trying to create a place for people from the area to eat, drink, and enjoy. As for activity centers, we'll see what interesting opportunities develop once we pull the tenant mix together."

One food cart opened there in May, and the search is on for several more, while construction continues. New is interested in locating "great food trucks" to add to the food cart pod, and says he is eager to hear suggestions. You can call him at 503/241-3312. The permanent food cart pod will be located between what currently are the Gold Bowl and Trillium buildings.

"John's Marketplace", a sprawling beer store and tap house in Multnomah, will open its second location in the former Taco House building later this year. Other buildings will eventually be converted into restaurants, bars, and retail sites. Although current buildings at the site may currently appear "run-down", New says that they are "actually pretty cool."

"It's all an effort to provide an otherwise pretty barren part of town with some much-needed dining and activity opportunities," he says. "We want it to be the neighborhood's living room; a place where people can go to work out, have dinner, or have a beer. Every street in Portland has one, except Powell."

He also discussed landscaping efforts that are planned – involving trees, plants, seating, awnings, and modest parking.

New tells THE BEE that the developer does not want to "gentrify" the neighborhood, however. He repeats that he has been closely working with the neighborhood association and local businesses to find what's most needed by nearby residents. "It's a very dense neighborhood, with over 200,000 people living within three miles," he reflects. "They deserve a good project."


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