(First published in November, 2015)
When we talk about growth in Portland we have to talk about the Lloyd District. It's exploding with new housing projects, business centers and mass transit options.
But this isn't the first time it's been targeted as the next hot neighborhood. The Lloyd Center put it on the map 55 years ago, and now it's helping transform the area again.
Archive 1958: Portland's growth boom centers on Lloyd
1958 was a record building year for the Portland area. The Morrison Bridge opened, along with the Interstate Bridge.
To top it off the last leg of the Banfield Freeway was finished, laying out the perfect grid to bring commuters from far and wide to another visionary development: Ground was broken for the Lloyd Center that year, and its grand opening was August 1, 1960.
Portland's first shopping mall was an open air wonder. It was three stories tall, boasting 100 stores, a skating rink and plenty of parking right in the city.
Presidential candidate Richard Nixon campaigned there just a month after it opened, calling it an example of America's greatness.
"If you think the United States has stood still, who built the largest shopping center in the world?" Nixon asked. "The Lloyd Shopping Center right here!"
Fast Forward 55 years and the new General Manager of Lloyd Center Bob Dye still marvels at the design.
"It's not a cookie cutter," Dye explained. "You're not going to find this design, this shopping center, anywhere else in the country except right here."
Dye, who hung out at the Lloyd Center as a teenager, is also the first to admit some things need to change. Armed with a $50 million renovation budget, a grand new entrance will be built to connect the mall to Holladay Park and the neighborhood.
Photos: Lloyd Center remodel
A shopping center first built to cater to cars, will now woo customers arriving on foot or bike or mass transit.
"Whether it's fabulous luck or impeccable timing, the renovation of Lloyd Center is keeping pace with what's happening with the Lloyd District," said Dye. There will be nods to the past, with a new spiral staircase, and the iconic ice rink with gain an elegant new shape. "It's going to be new, it's going to be retro, and it's going to be cool."
It will be the first major remodel since the Lloyd Center was covered to keep out the wind and rain in 1991, and it should all be done by October of next year.
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