Portland's waterfront renewal project starting to bounce back

Portland's waterfront renewal project starting to bounce back

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by Joe Smith, KGW business reporter

kgw.com

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 26 at 8:20 PM

PORTLAND – Condo prices along Portland’s waterfront are starting to bounce back, along with construction projects.

The idea for the south waterfront urban renewal project began in 1997 with the first building going up in 2003. At the time, it was one of the largest development projects in the nation.

For a few years it was a boom town with people buying condos sight unseen. Everything was going well, until the economy got in the way in 2008. Construction projects and condo sales suddenly stalled.

Now, the building cranes have been returning to the waterfront for projects including the Zidell's Emory, a 118-unit apartment building set to open in just two weeks.

Zidell’s is also near the $295 million Oregon Health and Science University’s collaborative life sciences building. That facility, set to open in 2015, will bring 4,000 professionals to the area for work.

“This has always been a 20-year project and in fact, it’s coming back faster than I thought,” said Homer Williams with Williams & Dame Development.

That also means no more condo auctions that were so popular during the recession. People trying to sell their condos now have seen a better market and faster closing dates.

One missing piece developers have noted has been a grocery store to serve the waterfront residents. Developers told KGW that Fred Meyer has shown a serious interest in opening a market along the waterfront and said it would likely be a small, “urban format” store.

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