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Pine Street Market brings new dining concept downtown

A new kind of dining concept for food-crazed Portland is under construction in downtown.
Pine Street Market is part of a movement to revitalize the Skidmore Historic District.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A new kind of dining concept for food-crazed Portland is under construction in downtown.

The developers behind Pine Street Market say their community food hall is part of a movement to revitalize the Historic Skidmore-Old Town district.

"Mike Thelin's culinary vision is coming true at Southwest 2nd Avenue and Pine Street. He's one of the founders of Food Festival Feast, and the culinary curator for Pine Street Market.

"I think it's a model you're going to see more of," he said.

Demolition just started on the 129-year-old building. And when it's finished in the fall, the Carriage and Baggage Building as it's known, will look worlds different inside.

"We really wanted to create a hub where there's a lot of interesting, cool and very Portland-centric food businesses here in one spot, and kind of re-anchor a neighborhood that was really where the city began," Thelin said.

Before it was Quest Nightclub, or the original location of Old Spaghetti factory, the three creaky, wood floors were home to 100 stalls for horses and buggies. Think an 1800s version of a parking garage, but soon, "This will be all office space," says David Davies, one of the developers of the project from Siteworks.

"We're talking to all kinds of different tenants who maybe want to take a whole floor, maybe two floors," said Davies.

The ground floor is all the food hall. Thelin won't reveal specifically who, but there will be different food vendors, beer taps, coffee and juice stands (all local) and plenty of community seating. It's a concept cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle already have, but a food hall is new for Portland.

"Downtown we're close to a lot of office workers," Thelin explained. "We want people to come in and just have a lot of really excellent options that represent the best of what the city has to offer."

It's the latest project in the Historic Skidmore-Old Town district. For decades, it's been known as a seedy part of town. Now, new boutique and timeshare hotels, along with new apartment buildings, are in the works.

Next door to Pine Street Market is Block 300, full of new internet start ups, and employees who need options in a starved area of the city.

We showed the artist renderings of the finished building to employees who work in the neighborhood. Velvet Mulvey loves the idea.

"It would give everyone a really great place to go and places to sit and eat. I think it would be fun and bring up the community."

Lisa Porter comes to Old Town for business meetings regularly and also supports the project.

"We're trying to spruce it up here anyway," she said. "And for us, we're trying to expand down in this area and it seems like it would be a really great option for us."

Rhonda Fosnot is worried about the future of the food carts in the neighborhood.

"I like the food carts," she says. "I really like how they're doing what they love, they're cooking and they're doing their passion and I think if that was built, it would take away from this."

A different, much larger food hall concept, with retail and grocery options, called the James Beard Public Market is in the planning stages for a piece of land along the waterfront.

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