Rec center may house high-end bar

Portland State is negotiating a contract that would open a high-end restaurant and bar in the new PSU recreation center when construction is complete in 2009.

Portland State is negotiating a contract that would open a high-end restaurant and bar in the new PSU recreation center when construction is complete in 2009.

The new restaurant and bar, similar to Portland establishments Henry’s Tavern and Stanford’s Restaurant and Bar, would fill an 11,000-square-foot retail space on the ground floor of the new recreation center. The recreation center, which is scheduled to be finished in late 2009 or early 2010 along with the MAX Green Line, will replace the Peter W. Stott Center as the PSU student activities and recreation complex.

Portland State is negotiating a contract with Portland-based company Pacific Coast Restaurants, and should have a finalized contract within the next month, according to Mark Gregory, associate vice president for strategic planning, partnerships and technology at PSU.

When a contract is finalized and signed, it could last as long as 15 years, according to Di Saunders, director of communications of the Oregon University System. Saunders said the contract would provide the restaurant company with two options to renew after every five years.

The restaurant and bar could be similar to the Portland City Grill, Newport Bay Restaurant, and Henry’s Tavern, which Pacific Coast Restaurants owns along with over 20 other restaurants on the West Coast. Gregory said PSU was looking for a multifaceted restaurant divided into sections such as a beer hall, a deli, a main dining area and a full-service bar.

“It’s going to be a pretty major thing for PSU to have this,” Gregory said.

The restaurant and bar would be targeting all of the groups that live near the University District, Gregory said. It would be upscale enough to appeal to those who live in condominiums, he said, but trendy enough to pull in the college crowd.

“I think what they’re targeting is good,” Gregory said about Pacific Coast Restaurants. “It doesn’t really exist here.”

Matt Corbin, Pacific Coast Restaurants’ vice president for marketing, said the company does not want to comment on the plans for a possible restaurant because the contract is still in negotiations and has not been signed. There has been a signed letter of intent to put a restaurant in the recreation center, which Corbin said is not binding

“We’re excited about it if it comes to pass,” he said.

The restaurant would be custom made for Portland State and the community around it, Gregory said. Portland State and Pacific Coast Restaurants are currently gathering feedback through committees of students, PSU staff and community members.

The new restaurant would be considered an anchor tenant–a tenant that helps draw in other tenants for the retail space in the recreation center–Saunders said. The Oregon University System approved a request to make Pacific Coast Restaurants the anchor tenant for the retail space of the recreation center on May 15.

The restaurant would fill close to half of the ground level of the recreation center. The restaurant could take up over 11,000 square feet of the ground level–a bigger space than Rock Bottom Brewery’s on Southwest Second and Morrison, Gregory said–and would face the PSU School of Business.

Gregory said this would leave space for around four other retail stores on the ground level. Many potential candidates have already applied for the space, Gregory said.

“It’s a matter of what we want to put in there,” he said. The university has considered putting some kind of fast-food retailer in the space, but Gregory said services like a UPS store could be a better fit.

The university used a real estate broker to help select Pacific Coast Restaurants from other candidates for the restaurant and bar. Gregory said the university is excited about the contract negotiations with Pacific Coast.

The new recreation center will be built in place of the Portland Center for Advanced Technology building on the corner of Southwest Sixth and Harrison. The center will be built in two phases and could cost upwards of $81 million, some of which will be paid off by student fees.

The new recreation center should have basketball courts, a pool, underground parking, space for Oregon University System offices, and may include storage space for the city of Portland archives.