Mixed-income project proposed for Block 33

Guardian Real Estate Services is moving forward with plans for a mixed-use development including affordable apartments on Portland’s Block 33 in Old Town Chinatown.

The proposed full-block project at 125 N.W. Fourth Ave. would have five floors of apartments and four floors of office space over ground-floor retail and market space.

Guardian Real Estate Services is proposing a ten-story full-block mixed-use building on an Old Town Chinatown block bounded by Northwest 4th and 5th avenues and Couch and Davis streets. (Sam Tenney/DJC)

Guardian Real Estate Services is proposing a ten-story full-block mixed-use building on an Old Town Chinatown block bounded by Northwest 4th and 5th avenues and Couch and Davis streets. (Sam Tenney/DJC)

Current plans call for 167 apartments. Twenty percent, or approximately 33 units, would be designated as affordable units to renters at 80 percent of median family income through the city’s multiple-unit limited tax exemption (MULTE) program.

Guardian purchased the property in July from David Gold for $11 million.

“It’s a wonderful block,” said Tom Brenneke, Guardian’s president. “The neighborhood is certainly supportive of development there.”

The outlook for multifamily projects remains strong despite some concessions in the apartment market, Brenneke said.

“All of the data points to the supply being short and demand being healthy over time,” he said. “Anytime you dump a bunch of apartments at one time, it’s going to take some time to absorb.

“Big picture, we’re optimistic about the Portland market. The job growth has been consistently good. By the time we’re ready to deliver – we’re a late 2019 delivery – we anticipate the market to still be in a pretty good balance and we expect strong absorption.”

The office space will total approximately 137,000 square feet. Guardian is targeting the creative office market.

The project will include a minimum of 200 parking spaces, Brenneke said. A public notice posted Nov. 21 by the city’s Bureau of Development Services shows current plans for two levels of underground parking, but Brenneke said the development team is studying options for more.

“We’re considering an alternative that would expand it to a third or potentially a fourth floor (of parking),” he said.

The block is also adjacent to MAX light-rail lines running along Fifth Avenue.

Block 33, presently a parking lot, has long been targeted for development. In 2011, Seattle-based Asian grocer Uwajimaya moved on from its plans to anchor a mixed-use development on the site.

Guardian has not selected a finance partner yet, Brenneke said. The developer is finalizing an agreement with a general contractor. The project is being designed by William Kaven Architecture.

Guardian is also at work in Northwest Portland on blocks 290 and 290E, where 200 multifamily units are proposed for property at Northwest 21st Avenue and Pettygrove Street. That project is designed by LRS Architects.

The developer has under construction a 40-unit affordable project for the Native American Youth and Family Center in Lents, and it recently completed the 47-unit Miracles Central Apartments in a fee project for Central City Concern. Guardian is also building the Bridge Meadows II affordable apartments project in Beaverton.

The developer is also working on a potential deal in Milwaukie, Brenneke said.

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