Construction underway on new mass-timber building

"Portland's Central Eastside will see a new development come late 2019 in the form of a six-story timber building of creative office space.

The District Office is under construction and located at 525 SE MLK Blvd. The new building will feature retail space on the ground floor, open office floor plans and outdoor deck space.

The building is designed by Hacker Architects, which will move its headquarters to the top floor of the District Office once complete. Andersen Construction is building the project and JLL will lead leasing.

"As one of the first development companies to recognize the potential of the Central Eastside and help pioneer its transformation, we anticipate District Office will serve as a catalyst for the revitalization of the emerging Grand/Stark corridor," said Beam Development Principal Jonathan Malsin.

Jessy Ledesma, director of development with Beam Development, said the Central Eastside is the most dynamic and evolving part of the central city. She said both established and emerging businesses in the area are creating an "economic success story unique to the district," making the District Office a good fit for the area.

"Through supportive city policies, an abundance of unique historic buildings, and long-term industrial tenants who have anchored the district for decades prior, the past 15 years have proven the Central Eastside to be a hotbed of innovation, restaurants and bars and living-wage job growth," Ledesma said.

The building is within walking distance to over 30 restaurants, numerous retailers and public transit access. A news release from the developers said the building is expected to foster further neighborhood growth.

The developers are utilizing cross-Laminated timber sourced from Oregon. Cross-laminated timber is a timber product that allows for more structural capacity and energy-efficiency, JLL Managing Director Jake Lancaster said.

"It's a resilient type of mass timber construction that achieves larger spans, clean wood exposed structure and a design aesthetic that businesses are gravitating towards," Lancaster said.

Ledesma said the exposed timber will provide for window-to-column spans of 40 feet and showcase a "modern interpretation" of the historic timber warehouses found in the Central Eastside.

Once constructed, the District Office will provide 72,000 square feet of office space, Lancaster said. The bottom floor will provide 9,500 square feet of retail space for rent. The building will also have onsite parking, showers, lockers and bicycle storage for renters and office users.

Like Lancaster said, cross-laminated timber is making an impact on Portland developments. While the six-story District Office is well underway, 12-story timber building Framework in the Pearl District was put on hold mid-July.

Project ^, the developer, said the postponement is "a result of changing market conditions over the past two years including inflation, escalating construction costs and fluctuations in the tax credit market. All have impacted the project's bottom line."

Ledesma said neither Beam Development or Urban Development + Partners can speak to the postponement of the Framework building, but she said the team is confident in its knowledge of the area to continue with the project — even in an unforgiving development market.

"We are excited to be moving forward with District Office and are confident that the project will be successful both in terms of the positive contributions it will make to the Central Eastside community and towards implementing sustainable development practices supported by Urban Development + Partners, Beam and the city of Portland," Ledesma said."

Hailey Stewart, Portland Tribune