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Seattle developer plans Lloyd Center mall renovation

Urban Renaissance Group called the partnership with KKR Real Estate Finance Trust an opportunity to invest in the heart of the city.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Seattle-based developer Urban Renaissance Group announced Monday that it will renovate Lloyd Center mall in Northeast Portland. The property will be redeveloped into residential and office space. 

The developer said it will partner with KKR Real Estate Finance Trust, a New York-based real estate lending company that plans to take ownership of the mall. 

Urban Renaissance Group called the partnership an opportunity to invest in the heart of the city.

"We know many Oregonians have fond memories of Lloyd Center and we take seriously our responsibility for making sure it continues to be a community gathering place," said Tom Kilbane, the developer's Portland managing director. "As we begin the planning process, our ambition is to embrace and preserve features of the property that make it special, including retail, creative work spaces and ice skating."

RELATED: Lloyd Center mall in NE Portland faces foreclosure and redevelopment

The redevelopment plans are not expected to impact the mall's operations during the holiday season.

Urban Renaissance Group, founded in 2006, specializes in developing and managing commercial real estate. The company has taken on several other notable projects in Portland, including the development of the Canvas office building on Yamhill Street next to Providence Park and a $28 million renovation of the former Oregonian newspaper headquarters into office space on Southwest Broadway.

The Lloyd Center mall opened in 1960 and at the time, it was said to be the largest mall in the world. 

But the mall has had financial trouble in recent years. Early in the pandemic, the mall closed for some time as stores deemed not essential were forced to close. Multiple major retailers inside the mall closed their doors including Marshalls, Nordstrom, Sears and most recently Macy's.

“It's been an up and down roller coaster,” said David Ferguson, owner of Joe Brown’s Carmel Corn, Lloyd Center's last remaining original store. “The good thing is Joe Brown's is a solid brand so we've been able to maintain, but just like everyone else we've seen a lack of sales.”

Ferguson and other store owners said they were optimistic about developers' plans to renovate the mall while maintaining some aspects of it.

“I'm totally confident in staying here and happy to be here,” said Ferguson. “I'll never go anywhere as long as they don't force us to.”

Troy Douglass owns Cultural Blends, a shoe and sports nostalgia shop at Lloyd Center. He called Monday’s announcement great news, and said the most difficult part of the last few years has been working amid the unknown.

“In 2018 the vibe in the mall—there was a darker energy,” said Douglass. “Now we've moved past the idea that Lloyd Center isn't going to be what it was. I think the general consumer base is now—'What is it going to be, next?’ With this news, there’s more of a hope.”