The new owners of a large warehouse at 8301 SE Division Street recently proposed a transformation to the 30,000-square-foot property. Last month, Diamond Plaza LLC applied for Early Assistance with the creation of 191 apartment units over 4,390 square feet of ground-floor retail space. A veteran of similar projects, Hoff Construction Group, will manage the site’s development.
Only 50 feet of the property exists on SE Division Street. Most site access occurs along SE 83rd Avenue. The lot is in a Commercial Mixed Use 2 (CM2) zone with a Centers Main Street (m) overlay. That will allow buildings with four stories, except in locations where bonuses allow up to five levels. The M overly requires active ground floor commercial uses with windows and a minimum building footprint covering a large portion of the site. This overlay also limits certain auto-oriented uses and favors compact, walkable design.
Division Street has seen many recent high-density mixed-use development in the last decade. However, few of those projects extend east past 82nd Avenue. In 2019, Hoff Construction Group completed a similarly sized complex to what designers proposed at SE 83rd and Division. That project at 2595 SE 50th Avenue created the Division Street Station apartment building with a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. If both developments are indeed comparable, it could indicate a significant change for this section of East Portland, with the influx of new residents helping fill retail vacancies in adjacent properties like the Pacific Plaza.
Tran’s Auto Body last occupied the green 8,999 square-foot warehouse now at the site. That automotive services company recently ceased operation after two decades. Upon closing the business, Quy Tran sold the SE Division Street property to Diamond Plaza LLC. The Mt. Hood Building Supply company was one of the original tenants of this 1970-built structure, using the large metal building for lumber storage. Its early uses shaped the utilitarian design of the site, and subsequent businesses did not alter it much over the years.
This location’s current configuration reflects an industrial past that now seems out of place next to Portland Community College and the pedestrian-scale retail developments along the street. Converting this location to housing aligns with the efforts of Jade District leaders and other community groups working in this area. Most people should welcome the new mixed-use building if it is approved.
The current proposal is only in the Early Assistance phase of development. Details of the project will likely change before the owners apply for building permits. However, any significant construction on this site will improve SE 83rd Avenue. That street only has 230 feet of sidewalk along its western edge. Work at this property will create 360 feet of new sidewalk and replace pavement on its eastern side of the roadway, improving the utility of this currently dead-end street. Expect further updates regarding this project in 2023 as designers refine their plans for this transformative redevelopment.