A boom in the Portland 'burbs: 6 transformative commercial real estate projects

Portland's high-profile projects get most of the limelight, but change is afoot in the suburbs, as well. Here are six projects altering the suburban landscape.

Jul 26, 2018, 1:41pm PDT

High-profile development projects in Portland often grab the headlines. 

The hundreds of apartments and thousands of new square feet of office space creating the new Slabtown hub, the Pearl District towers filling in the neighborhood gaps, the mixed-use buildings that are transforming the inner eastside are all just some of the projects that have been grabbing attention and altering the landscape in recent years. 

But it’s not just in Portland proper that new projects are reshaping the environment. Out in the suburbs, the conditions that have set the real estate and development scene aflame in the Rose City are also fueling transformative new projects.

“The focus of development companies over the last few years has been on the downtown core, but we feel that the greater need is in the suburbs at present,” said Spencer Welton, senior vice president of development for Grand Peaks, a Denver developer that’s behind the first phase of a multiphase project that will eventually add more than 600 new residential units, retail space, restaurants and public plazas to the Clackamas Cove area in Oregon City. “Grand Peaks is beyond excited about the location of Edgewater at the Cove, which is a waterfront site within walking distance to downtown Oregon City in an area where quality rental housing is undersupplied.” 

According to Colliers International, 20 new multifamily buildings were delivered in the Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area in the first quarter of 2018; almost half of those — eight — were out in the suburbs, including across the river in Vancouver. 

“I think we are just in the infancy here in terms of everything that’s going on in Vancouver,” said Barry Cain, president of Gramor Development, the firm spearheading the massive Waterfont Vancouver development on the banks of the Columbia River. “I think it’s all just getting started.” 

Out in Beaverton, too, new projects are activating areas in a way not seen in recent years. The Round, a mixed-use development with a somewhat checkered past, has found itself now surrounded by a jolt of new energy that could finally create the kind of central district that has always been envisioned for the area near The Round. Included in that is a new food cart pod called BG’s Food Cartel, the forthcoming Patricia Reser Center for the Arts and several mixed-use projects. 

“There is definitely a lot going on,” said Kali Bader, vice president of Rembold Properties, a Beaverton developer that’s building a two-building, 230-unit project not far from City Hall. 

Here’s a look at five major developments that are making significant ripples across Portland’s suburbs. 


Project Name: Axletree 

Location: 2036 S.W. Washington St. 

Description: A five-story, 110-unit apartment building with 7,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 78 parking spaces. The project sits in the heart of downtown Milwaukie not far from a MAX Orange Line stop and Milwaukie Riverfront Park.  

Developer: Guardian Real Estate Services 

Estimated completion: 2019 


Project Name: The Rise Central  

Location:  12875 S.W. Crescent St.

Description:  A two-building development in an active central district of Beaverton near City Hall, the MAX line, the new BG’s Food Cartel cart pod and the forthcoming Beaverton Center for the Arts. The project will deliver 230 apartments, including 15 affordable ones, parking and retail and restaurant space.

Developer:  Rembold, partnering with the private Real Estate Investment Trust Rescore

Estimated completion:  Q4 2018 and Q1 2019


Project Name: The Grand Cove 

Location:  1937 Main St.

Description:  A multiphase project that will eventually deliver 622 residential units, retail space, restaurants and public plazas to the Clackamas Cove area, where the Clackamas River meets the Willamette River. The first phase, called Edgewater at the Cove, will deliver 244 garden apartments and is currently under construction.

Developer:  The master developer for the entire site is Clackamette Cove LLC. Denver's Grand Peaks is behind the first phase of the development.

Estimated completion: 2018-2019 (Phase 1)


Project Name:  The Windward                                  

Location:  130 A Avenue

Description:  A three-building development with more than 200 residential units, 430 parking spaces and a handful of retail spots, the Windward rose up in the heart of Lake Oswego on the downtown property long home to Wizer’s Oswego Foods. It was controversial in its early stages, but several court decisions and the arrival of Salt & Straw this summer eventually smoothed out most of the wrinkles.

Developer:  PHK Development

Completed: Completed Spring 2018


Project Name:  Waterfront Vancouver

Location:  Grant Street and Columbia Way, on the north bank of the Columbia River

Description:  A project more than a decade in the making, the Waterfront Vancouver could eventually deliver up to 3,300 residential units, a million square feet of office space, retail shops and restaurants and a 7-acre waterfront park on a long-dormant stretch of Columbia River waterfront. The park is already on its way toward completion, as is the first restaurant building; both should be open in August or September. A second restaurant will open later this summer, and this fall, the first office building will come online, followed by the first residential project. A hotel is also under construction, as is a second apartment building.

Developer:  Columbia Waterfront LLC, a partnership led by Gramor Development

Estimated completion: First projects in mid-to-late 2018


Project Name: Atwell Off Main

Location: 12790 S.W. Ash Ave.

Description: Initially described as one of the largest-ever jolts of private investment — $30 million — into downtown Tigard, this project added 165 residential units and 2,000 square feet of commercial space to a suburban core that had been largely quiet for years. The development was designed to energize the area by giving residents access to the downtown core and the nearby Fanno Creek greenway. "It is fully stabilized and has been very well received by the market and residents who live there," said Capstone's Chris Nelson.

Developer: Capstone Greenlight LLC and Diamond Investment Group Tigard LLC

Completed: 2017 

Jon Bell

Staff Reporter

Portland Business Journal

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/...