Prosper Portland picks longtime Portland developer for ODOT Blocks

"Prosper Portland has picked a well-known local to partner with on its ambitious ODOT Blocks project.

The agency chose Beam Development's proposal for the 2.19-acre site in the Central Eastside out of six proposals submitted earlier this year. Beam's team also includes Hacker Architects, Colas Construction and Mackenzie.

The development firm's proposal outlines a plan for "scalable industrial on all blocks and flexible office layouts." Buildings would be "mid-rise" while "still increasing height and density beyond the surrounding blocks. Beam has proposed about 260,000 square feet of industrial office space and at least 66,000 square feet of "scalable industrial." There would be some parking at a blending parking ratio of 1.5 per 1,000 square feet.

The development would also include a provision of approximately 5,000 rentable square feet of ground-floor space, rent free, for the Industry Innovation & Inclusion Hub.

Development would be phased across the three blocks between 2019 and 2021.

“The Beam team . . . has deep experience in designing projects that support small business growth and access to employment," said Prosper Portland's Executive Director Kimberly Branam in a release. "We look forward to working with them to create a new model of public-private partnership that supports a mixture of industrial, manufacturing and retail focusing on the inclusive economy.”

According to the release, Beam Development and Prosper Portland will now negotiate and enter into a Memorandum of Understanding, which is expected to lead to a disposition and development agreement.

“Our team is thrilled to apply our extensive experience working with growing companies in Central Eastside to the ODOT Blocks project," Beam's Jonathan Malsin said. "Our goal is to deliver a dynamic project that further cements the Central Eastside as a hub for high-growth urban manufacturing and creative companies."

Totalling 2.19 acres, the ODOT Blocks are the vacant gravel lots along Southeast Water Avenue between Southeast Taylor and Southeast Madison, just east of I-5. Prosper Portland acquired the eastern portion of each block, while ODOT retained the western portions to maintain its access to the highway. Prosper Portland bought the blocks from the Oregon Department of Transportation last June for $2.8 million.

The property is zoned General Industrial, so no residential components are permitted; traditional office space that would be home to professional firms like accountants and attorneys is also not allowed. However, industrial office use is permitted in the area, which expands the possibilities of what could be developed."

Jon Bell, Portland Business Journal

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