Finished almost two years ago, the Flex at 2110 SE 82nd Ave still has not secured a tenant. An architecturally recognized building, it has many attributes that make it highly desirable. The building has wide open spaces with natural light, and quality finishes throughout. The landscaping is immaculately maintained, the parking lot does not have a single oil drop. No one would guess it has been available for 20 months.
A year ago the Business Tribune wrote a glowing review of the architectural successes of the Flex building. The article rightly calls out the rich textures of the timber framing, and the industrial influences that are are throughout the buildings. None more notable than its metal roll-down doors and loading dock style alignment. Such a glowing review should have called all the right attention to the property.
Unlike some similarly constructed properties, transportation is not a dissuading factor. It has ample parking accessible from both SE 82nd Ave and SE 83rd Ave. It has a protected bike room and the bathrooms have showers. There is access to mass transit surrounds the building. The Flex on 82nd checks many of the boxes for a desirable office or storefront space. These positive attributes have not been ignored. Prospective tenants included a restaurant, event space rental, dance studio, cross fitness gym, and rock climbing space. All, up to recently, have not materialized into a lease.
The listing agent, Robbie MacNichol with Debbie Thomas Real Estate, provided some insight into why this building has taken time to find a tenant. Speaking over the phone, MacNichol explained how the lengthy process of leasing the property was anticipated by the owner. The owner of the property is accustomed to being at the forefront of a changing area. He knows change takes time, particularly when you are early to the process.
The other projects, by the buildings owner, are are mostly in California but his desire is to make sure the property remains Portland in its implementation. Some motivated renters were turned away because they did not fit what he imagined for the building. Originally the building was intended to be cut into many separate spaces, for a variety of tenants. Similar to how other retail spaces are configured in the area. However, after learning from the first year of showing the property, one or two large tenants seems like a better fit.
The rental flyer positions the building similarly to other properties in its price range but not perhaps in this location. However MacNichol admints, this would be a unique building to represent regardless of what part of town it was in. It is a shiny, different type of building than what is on SE 82nd Ave. Some people have disliked how different it is but others see it as the change that is needed for the area. Debbie Thomas Real Estate was an early Pearl District realtor, so the hope is those skills will translate into success with 82nd’s transformation.
If we expect 82nd Ave to evolve, places like the Flex need to succeed. Not because everything needs to look like a version of the Pearl District to be successful but because 82nd needs variety. Buildings and businesses have to attract the full range of visitors. People need to walk, live, and work in this place for it to become something more than a roadside attractions off the highway.
Change is taking hold on SE 82nd Ave. There is the new Pacific Plaza a few doors down at the corner and more on the way. MacNichol says the Flex is in final negotiations with a tenant. They are set to occupy the whole building. This change is early and needs time but we are seeing movement now. It is exciting times for this part of Montavilla.