Category: Construction

Courtyard at Monti’s Cafe

Customers visiting Monti’s Cafe will soon enjoy a fenced courtyard with many amenities. Crews have created brick pillars around the former parking lot in front of the eatery. Soon, wrought iron fence segments will link the pillars together, creating a semi-secluded space for people to enjoy their purchases. A street-side gated entry will remain open during Monti’s Cafe’s hours of operation.

The idea to create this outdoor space predates the pandemic. However, owner Kelli Vinther explained that current circumstances made it a priority. “In the past year of COVID, comfortable and comforting outdoor seating has become extra important to our customers.” Vinther seeks to create an outdoor oasis for Monticello and Monti’s Cafe guests in this space that once served as a three-car parking lot.

The loss of parking was an easy sacrifice, according to Vinther. “The huge majority of parking is, and always has been, on street… The promise of an enlarged eating area far outweighs the loss of a few parking spaces.” Unlike the temporary outdoor seating created throughout the neighborhood in response to COVID-19 restrictions, this change is permanent, with substantial structure added to the property.

Eight umbrellaed tables will fill the newly enclosed area. Additional seating will surround a fire pit. The sounds of a fountain and an array of potted plants will further shape the space. The fencing and decorations will provide a buffer from the heavy traffic on SE Stark Street. “It’s going to be a beautiful, inviting courtyard for our customers to enjoy Spring, Summer, and Fall,” proclaimed Vinther.

Monticello Antique Marketplace and Monti’s Cafe are located at 8600 SE Stark Street. Both are open during construction.

US Foods CHEF’STORE Painted

This weekend, crews painted the US Foods CHEF’STORE located at 8250 SE Stark Street. This store recently was renamed, and this work is in line with that rebranding effort. The Smart Foodservice Warehouse company built the building in 2019. US Foods acquired the property and 70 other Smart Foodservice locations in early 2020 when purchasing the Smart Foodservice company. Last February, the new owners officially changed the store’s name to US Foods CHEF’STORE. Within days, the store’s signage updated to reflect the new branding.

Painters covered the original beige panels and the previously unpainted Split-face Concrete Blocks with off-white paint. The building’s color now matches the traditional white and green aesthetic seen in US Foods CHEF’STORE locations across the country. More branding-related updates will continue inside the store. However, most of the building’s exterior appears complete.

Smart Foodservice prior to new signs and painting
Building primed and ready for paint
Building primed and ready for paint
Final paint color as seen from SE 82nd and Stark

New Plaza Owners Bet on Retail Growth

The 82nd Street Plaza building recently sold to a group of investors who see opportunity in Montavilla’s expanding downtown. Located at 322 SE 82nd Ave, this 1963 era building sits mid-block just north of Stark Street. The new owners will transform the location through building-wide upgrades that enhance the property’s appearance and functionality.

The owners of this property predict that Montavilla’s retail core is expanding towards this block, provided they create an enticing destination. “This building has a lot of potential… it just needs a facelift and a pivot in the leasing in order to pop,” explained Bob Thomas, one of the building’s owners. The investors are committed to updating the building inside and out, including the already rented spaces. All current tenants received offers to extend leases and negotiate improvement to their units. “Most of our ground-floor tenants have expressed a desire to stay,” said Thomas.

The three-story building has four ground-floor retail shops. Oregon Grown operates both a dispensary and the OG Garden Supply at either end of the building. The All Ways Warm fireplace store was the building’s previous owner and will maintain a retail space on the property. Bánh Mì Nam Lộc Deli occupies the other center spot next to All Ways Warm. The second floor is currently empty, having previously rented to a single tenant who vacated the building before its sale. The basement level has remained unused since the closing of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in 2014.

Over the next few weeks, the building’s exterior will dramatically change. Darker paint and a cedar-siding band above the first floor will change the current color palette of the building. Crews permanently removed green awnings from the structure, and soon the building will feature a new name. The 82nd Street Plaza will become known as Annex, referencing Montavilla Town’s expansion to this section of 82nd Ave.

Work is well underway. The parking lot is clear of the extra sheds and storage containers that once cluttered the property. Painters are prepping the building for its new colors, and replacement business signs are already on order for each retail unit.

The second-floor office space was not in rentable condition due to its many alterations over the years. Previous to the external work, all interior finishes on the top floor were removed down to the framing, providing a blank canvas for future tenants. The 5,000 square-foot space is currently available for leases by a single business or divided into several suites.

The property spans five tax lots, with three of them used only for parking. Thomas explained that “there is ample parking at the property currently,” and it’s excessive for the building’s needs. Consequently, the owners are exploring the addition of a food cart pod to the property.

Investment at this level in Montavilla indicates a positive shift for the area. Substantial economic advances will take years to materialize, but this building’s facelift will provide visible proof that change is coming. Businesses interested in leasing space at this location should contact Peak Asset Management by phone or email at (503) 567-8692 and info@peakassetmgt.com.

82nd Street Plaza days before exterior work started

New Self-Storage Facility on NE Halsey

A new four-story storage facility will break ground on a long-vacant lot along I84. Located at 1530 NE 67th AveWest Coast Self-Storage has obtained building permits for the new structure and associated site improvements. It will join other nearby storage providers Public Storage and Extra Space Storage.

The project is across the Halsey Street overpass from Montavilla in a location that has reminded vacant for over twenty years. With a value of over Six Million dollars, the project will deliver a substantial building to that corner. Look for construction to begin soon.

Curb Ramps at SE 87th and Lincoln

New curb ramps and pedestrian crossing improvements are planned near Harrison Park School. Funding from the Safe Routes to School project will bring a marked crosswalk and new ADA ramps to SE 87th Ave and Lincoln Street. Multiple curb ramps are coming to the sidewalk bordering the school, providing accessible access onto the school grounds. Initially planned for 2020, this project will begin soon, with traffic control devices already onsite.

New Division Bus Station at 85th

Concrete work is complete on the new bus platform along SE Division Street, east of 85th Ave. It is one of several enhanced bus stations designed for faster public transportation between the outer Southeast and Downtown. TriMet’s Division Transit Project is underway at many points along the busy street, creating new infrastructure improvements. 

Image courtesy TriMet

Over the next year, upgrades to bus stops along this route will facilitate faster passenger loading and reduced bus merging times. This station’s platform design features a raised curb for better floor alignment with new longer buses. The platform’s curb extends out from the sidewalk through the bike lane to meet the travel lane. This design allows the bus to stop in traffic, eliminating the need to merge when the vehicle begins moving again. Integrated ramps on both edges of the platform allow bikes to pass through the bus stop. Bicyclists will briefly ride at sidewalk level to pass over the platform. However, to avoid collisions with TriMet riders, bikes will yield to pedestrians while buses load passengers.

Image courtesy TriMet

Some property owners at this location had expressed concern over the new platform design. Construction at this location removed a driveway that once provided off-street parking from the property at 8525 SE Division Street. Despite the removal of the curb-cut, the property still maintains two access points on SE Division Street. TriMet representative Roberta Altstadt explained that this “project will not completely eliminate any property’s access to a public right of way.” General community benefits brought by this work outweigh sidewalk reconfiguration concerns. This project not only improves transit but also rebuilds large sections of sidewalk and street corners.

One of two remaining driveways for 8525 SE Division Street

The Division Transit Project will complete in 2022. Although a year away from full use, SE Division Street improvements are already apparent, providing this worn roadway a needed refresh. Transit projects at this scale can attract further development to the area and draw in more commerce. Look for continued construction along SE Division Street over the next eighteen months.

View from the bike lane

Construction Update on Twin Houses

As expected, both 1430 NE 72nd Ave and 285 SE 90th Ave are nearing completion simultaneously. Property owner Scot Harger chose to build identical houses in different sections of Montavilla. Each uses plan sets from Thogerson Designs, with minor adjustments for the specific lots.

Building duplicate houses is standard practice in subdivisions and newer neighborhoods, but they are often near each other. Being nearly two miles apart, the sale of these buildings could yield information regarding area real-estate. SE 90th Ave is an unimproved road and east of 82nd Ave. NE 72nd Ave is in an older road with sidewalks and paved streets but further from Montavilla’s core. Both locations have benefits and detractors. What is not know is how those combinations of attributes will affect the sale price for the homes.

Keep an eye on the listings for both houses. Their list price and subsequent sale price could provide interesting data on Portland’s housing market and more information on what homebuyers value.

Garage Demolished on SE 88th

Earlier this month, crews demolished the detached garage at 8739 SE Washington Street to make way for a new home. Only a concrete slab remains from the original structure. The existing 1947 era home will stay on the property, unaltered by this work.

Demolition permit 20-180023 allowed for the deconstruction of the detached garage. Land Use 19-267610 will separate the property into two lots. The scale and amenities of the future house are not yet known. However, with the demolition completed, progress on this development can now progress.

Garage before demolition

Current empty lot

New Max Platform at Gateway Station

Last week, planners submitted Design Review request 21-022957 for upgrades at Gateway Transit Center. TriMet will construct a new station platform for the Max Red Line as part of the A Better Red project. The new platform will serve trains traveling from the Portland International Airport towards Portland’s City Center.

Aside from faster travel times for Red Line passengers, this project will bring improvements to the area. The new Max track over the Freeway will include a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to the Gateway Green park. The new platform will be two blocks away from the other stops at the station, requiring a connecting sidewalk along the back edge to the Park and Ride property. With improved lighting, increased activity, and fencing, the security at that parking lot could improve.

Pedestrian and bicycle bridge to the Gateway Green

Construction will begin this year and run through 2023. This transit project should be an exciting upgrade to local infrastructure with improved access to an isolated bike park. A more detailed timeline will take shape later this year as construction permits are submitted.

Looking from current Max platforms towards new Red Line stop

Renderings courtesy of TriMet

Harka Building Taking Form

Renovation work recently increased at Harka Architecture‘s new headquarters, located at 7631 NE Glisan Street. Crews are converting the 1940 Art Deco structure into a modern office with a classic style. Alterations to the building are significant. However, the building owner has taken care to keep the original architectural style intact.

As an environmentally focused architecture design firm, Harka is selective in how they are completing this project. “We are doing a very deep high-performance retrofit of the space while using non-toxic, healthy materials,” said Patrick Donaldson, Principal Architect with Harka Architecture. This development employs a low carbon construction ethic that favors reuse and building efficiency. Taking that approach has kept the renovation on a slower schedule. However, paperwork delays occurred before work could begin, pushing buildout dates further back. Donaldson had to clear decades of un-permitted work by previous owners before receiving approval on the new alterations.

Those project delays seem to be in the past, and the building already shows signs of improvement. While replacing the roof, the exterior wall height increased by several feet. New high-efficiency windows have replaced the original single-pane glass, and the second street-facing door became a new window.

The small building is full of 1940’s character, and work to date has only enacted those features. Months of construction are still needed to restore this building. However, the final form is now evident, reassuring this building’s admirers that it is in good hands with the new owners.

Pre-construction

Renderings provided by Harka Architecture