New pearly gates

Eight Portland State graduate students spent their winter term designing a proposal for a new gateway between downtown Portland and the Pearl district.

Eight Portland State graduate students spent their winter term designing a proposal for a new gateway between downtown Portland and the Pearl district.

William Macht, a faculty member of the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, said he advised the project as part of the 14th Development Planning Workshop. Macht has a J.D. and a background in property development.

Atha Mansoory, Jared Hendricks, William Their, Brad Johnson, Ben Gates, Jon Winslow, Mike Shall and Tom Heinicke are the students involved with the project.

 “I’m pursuing a graduate certificate in real estate development to learn development skills that will help me positively impact the built environment,” Gates said.

Macht, who is also a commissioner for the Port of Hood River, said the Development Planning Workshop is an interdisciplinary course “focused on a specific new or adaptive reuse development project of regional significance.”

According to Gates, the Development Planning Workshop also offers students an opportunity to work “on an ambitious and potentially real project.”

“The workshop format is the kind of environment that stimulates professional development,” he said.

Macht said the planned development is for the two blocks adjacent to the Brewery Blocks, which are “the most successful mix-used development in downtown Portland.”

The proposed Brewery Blocks West would take the place of the two properties that are located between West Burnside and Northwest Davis streets, and Northwest 13th and 14th avenues, according to Macht.

Steve Roselli, the senior vice president and regional manager of Harsch Investment Properties, which owns the Brewery Blocks West, told the Daily Journal of Commerce that “more can be done at the site.” ?

The eight students propose to make the Brewery Blocks West a two-block mixed-use development with a public access sculpture court and a Hyatt Place hotel, Macht said. In addition, they propose that there also be an art museum that would use pieces from Jordan Schnitzer’s sizeable art collection. Schnitzer was the founder of Harsch Investment Properties.
The plans also call for a number of new stores, including an Apple Inc. store and a Crate & Barrel, he said.

Across the street from that building, Macht said, “the team planned a 26-story workforce housing point tower with 264 units affordable to tenants earning 80 percent of median family income.”

In addition, this building would contain offices, a Zara clothing store, a Best Buy and “a 10,000 square-foot Rogue Brewpub spilling out onto a new pedestrian green street,” he said.

In each term, Macht said students in his Development Planning Workshop “produce a development plan or plans intended to contribute realistic solutions to important issues of public policy as expressed through definable public-private development projects.”

In this case, Harsch Investment Properties prompted the project.

Harsch told the Daily Journal of Commerce that a more conspicuous gateway should connect downtown Portland with the Pearl District.

“The students learned a great deal undertaking both the project and their presentation before about 150 developers and other professionals in the development community,” Macht said.

Of his own experience working on the Pearl Gateway project, Gates said, “I learned just how difficult it is to plan for a multi-site, mixed-use development.”

“I enjoyed putting the deal structure together that could make it all happen, including creative financing to support workforce housing and a public-private partnership to consolidate parking in the district and make it more efficient,” he said.

Although Harsch has not made a final decision, Gates said, “[Harsch Investment Properties] really liked our big idea which defined the character of our proposal—a modern art museum and public atrium at heart of the development.”