After nearly a decade in the neighborhood, Toast Inc. has relocated from its shop on SE 80th Avenue to a new purpose-built facility at NE 42nd and Killingsworth Street. The manufacturer of laser cut wood and leather products expanded operations over the years to encompass an extensive collection of device covers, offering personalized designs and promotional items. The former workshop at 403 SE 80th Avenue is now vacant, awaiting its next tenant.
Moving to the new location enables Toast to grow its business and make space for other similarly creative people to work on their craft. “We got the opportunity to build a new building to our specific needs that would also have additional maker-artist spaces to lease out,” said Toast Founder Matias Brecher. The second floor of the new two-story commercial building offers leasable workspaces while Toast works out of the main floor. Tenants have rented all but one of the artist studio rooms, firmly establishing Brecher’s vision of a creative community building.
Toast launched in January 2012 as a Kickstarter project with 300 backers. Crowdsourced funds facilitated the initial purchase of a CNC laser and materials that Brecher developed into Toast. Initially, the company produced walnut iPhone 4 covers in a basement workshop but soon hired staff and relocated to the Montavilla workspace. Now, growing further, Toast is making its new home in the Cully neighborhood.
The move is biter-sweet for the business. “We miss the restaurants and bars and the Academy theater for sure, but we are excited to be part of growing the 42nd Ave community,” explained Brecher. Montavilla has incubated many independent manufacturing operations dating back to its earliest days. Toast is another example of the quiet success seen in the workspaces around the neighborhood. Look for the shopfront on SE 80th Avenue to become available soon, and visit Toast at 4232 NE Killingsworth Street if you are in the area.
At the end of 2021, Arthur’s Automotive opened a second Montavilla location at 8804 SE Stark Street. The four-bay repair shop was the former location for J & S Automotive Repair. Now, new paint covers the 1960’s era cinder block building matching the company color scheme. This location is a mile from their original shop at 104 NE 80th Avenue and speaks more to the need for space than a regional expansion.
The shop’s owners submitted plans to expand the repair center on NE 80th Avenue in May of 2021. After eight years in this location, they had outgrown the existing space and needed to increase the building’s capacity or risk turning customers away. The addition would double their available workspace, giving them an extra 3,120 square feet of floor area. After nine months, the permits for the new all-metal structure sit in Under Review status with the city.
The new SE Stark Street location offers Arthur’s Automotive an instant 2,240 square feet of workspace on a highly utilized street. Unlike the somewhat hidden NE 80th building, the new space should generate more exposure for the auto shop. It is unknown if the owners still plan on expanding the original location. This added store did provide the expansion space the business needed. However, if the company continues to grow, it will require more shop space than the two sites offer.
Next month, Shari and Todd Cerreta will open BoneJax home furnishings and curiosities at 8040 SE Stark Street. The store features used furniture, sculptural lighting, and eventually pieces from local artists. Over the years, the owners transformed their shared hobby into a successful vendor business for furniture stores. Now they are opening a shop dedicated to their home decor curations.
The new shop replaces the former CrossFit Montavilla gym in the historic Montavilla business district. BoneJax’s owners are excited to find ample space available in an area they know well. “Oh my God, we just love that little strip. It’s a neighborhood we’ve been going to for many years, and we just love it. We can’t believe our good luck in actually finding a place on that strip,” said Todd Cerreta. Shari Cerreta believes Montavilla will become a destination for vintage furniture and similar items. In their frequent visits to the area, they’ve observed the growth in thrift stores and antique shops opening along SE Stark Street and feel BoneJax is complementary to that trend. “We appreciate all kinds of furniture, and we just want to be able to bring all of those styles together in a really fun kind of eclectic way,” said Shari Cerreta. Todd Cerreta added that “eventually we’ll probably do a couple of new pieces of furniture here and there, but we just really like older stuff and how it works together.”
The shop will house a wide assortment of furnishings and curiosities for the home, going beyond the fashionable mid-century modern to include contemporary and traditional styles. “We have a lot of neat fun things that we like,” commented Todd Cerreta while exclaiming the value of their eclectic blend of furniture, lighting, and decor. He explained that there are few rules to what they offer other than the item’s quality. “We will have a gorgeous leather Chesterfield, or we’ll have a deco era vanity or something older. Then we’ll have a brand new locally made peace.”
The couple will make minor alterations to the storefront, opting to let their products shape the space. “The way we’re viewing the interior is kind of how we view our business. We like taking things that exist already and kind of emphasizing things about them that we like. Whether it’s the cement floors that we love there and the basic structure, and then we’re just going to add more color,” said Todd Cerreta.
Shari Cerreta expressed how special they feel to open this store after many years in the industry. “We’ve been involved in doing this for a very long time, and so we’re just really excited to be able to figure out a way to do something that we love doing.”
They plan to open in mid-March. Watch the store’s Instagram site for insight into what they will have in stock and for announcements regarding an opening date.
On December 31st, Cactus Vintage & Consignment staff packed up the shop located at 7910 SE Stark Street. The store opened in this space in February of 2015 as the combined effort of three friends bringing their separate businesses together. At the end of the lease, the last remaining owner opted to end the store’s seven-year span and focus on family and a simplified worklife.
Cactus began when Adrienne Seely of Autopilot Empires Jewelry joined John Healy of Cactus Records and Sonya Petroff of Yours Vintage in a combined store. The partners sold a unique combination of goods from the space and became a frequented shop along Stark Street for three years. John Healy and Adrienne Seely left the business at the end of 2017. Sonya Petroff managed the shop for the remaining four years on her own while maintaining a second job at Trader Joe’s.
The lease on the storefront expired at the end of 2021. Changes in Petroff’s life and general issues over the last few years made continuing to run the store less appealing. “I had quite a load, and with Covid and the rise of crime decided to call it quits. I’m grateful to have reached my goal of paying off my debts and now concentrate on one sustainable job only and raising my nephew,” explained Petroff.
Although her years of working in the neighborhood are ending, Petroff maintains a fondness for the community. “I love Montavilla and hope to keep some of my connections and, of course, visit as well.” The 900 square foot 1928 storefront will soon become home to another business. Donald Hanna of the Real Estate company Hanna Network represents the building and confirmed that the storefront is unavailable. “We already have a new tenant for it. I can’t reveal yet, but I think the community with be very happy,” said Hanna.
Look for 7910 SE Stark Street to become active as the new shop owners work to create a space fitting for their business.
Barrett Hair Design recently closed its location at 6826 NE Glisan Street. Having opened in October 2018, the multi-station salon offered full-service hair styling, cuts, and coloring to residents for several years. The shop shut down after the owner could not secure continued occupancy from the landlord.
Clay Barrett Ahle moved to Portland from California in 1998, working as a Hairstylist at several salons before opening Barrett Hair Design. For Ahle, this most recent experience, and changes in Portland, have dissuaded him from attempting to reopen at a new location in the City. “I will not open another shop in Portland. In fact, I am looking at relocating elsewhere in the United States,” explained Ahle over a text message. He indicated that the local culture and economics have moved in an intolerable direction for his comfort. “This is not my Portland, so I will be leaving. It’s become the California I was trying to escape.”
The storefront is currently vacant, and broom swept. The property is not yet listed for lease but may soon become available. Keep an eye on 6826 NE Glisan Street for new activity from a future tenant.
Next February, Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy will open a new outpatient rehabilitation clinic for children at 8028 E Burnside Street. This new pediatric healthcare location is the creation of two experienced occupational therapists, Diedra Pine and Maureen Benedict-Lee. A year after launch, the practice intends to add speech therapy, physical therapy, and mental health services. Currently, crews are making minor alterations to accommodate the mix of open activity space and private session rooms.
Before joining forces, Pine and Benedict-Lee had private practices working out of Groundplay Therapy Works, a pediatric occupational therapy clinic in the Hollywood neighborhood. In that facility, therapists run their own business but collaborate when appropriate and share referrals. However, each practitioner is financially independent, limiting the growth potential within that environment.
At Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy, the staff offers a wide range of youth-focused services. They currently see patients seeking help with motor development, communication, social-emotional learning, and sensory processing skills. Patients include children with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing difficulties, motor delays, and difficulties with executive functioning. Future services will expand the group’s offerings even further but accommodating that range of services requires a unique location.
Unlike standard medical offices, the rehabilitation clinic needs communal space and private rooms. “We work with children in occupational therapy, which involves swinging and climbing and moving in a big open space,” explained Maureen Benedict-Lee. That requirement had Pine and Benedict-Lee looking at mostly warehouse locations that did not meet the clinic’s needs. When the pair looked at the location on E Burnside, it instantly felt fitting for their needs. “This space is so incredible for our vision… Warehouses aren’t super finished and nice, so this [location is the] perfect combination of a big open warehouse-type space, and then there are back offices,” said Benedict-Lee.
Although the former Transitions Project building mostly fits the clinic’s requirements, some alterations are needed. The front of the building is one continuous space that previously had a demising wall separating the location into two suites. The therapists leased the whole building but will replace the divider to create two activity spaces at the front. They will also construct a waiting area near the parking lot entrance in the back. Benedict-Lee explained that the office doors leading to Burnside Street would remain locked and only serve as emergency exits. Most activity at the site will occur towards the back of the building at the entrance adjacent to the parking lot. Some window-covering improvements will happen, but the clinic needs to maintain patient privacy. “the blinds aren’t sustainable for the work we do, so we’re taking all the blinds off, but we [provide] healthcare for children, so are our plan is to do frosted windows,” explained Benedict-Lee.
Although the open space is best for working with younger kids, they work with all ages, from toddlers to high school-aged children. “My business partner and I both enjoy working with older children,” said Benedict-Lee. “Space for those older kids is something that we wanted to have in the new clinic. Where we were at previously, you would walk into a really big gym space, and the desks are all pretty small, so it wasn’t as inviting if you’re in an older teen or young adult.” The new space on E Burnside has many private rooms for older patients and other treatments.
Over eight years, Pine and Benedict-Lee established relationships with patients and professional institutions. Those connections will follow the pair to this new business. “We definitely have a client base, and we have connections with pediatricians and schools and other providers, so that will continue,” said Benedict-Lee. However, Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy has the capacity for many more clients. Maureen Benedict-Lee lives in the Montavilla neighborhood and likes the idea of supporting the children in the area. “I’m really excited about being a resource here and would love the community to access us and use our services.” She explained that there are not many other clinics offering similar services in this area, and this location worked out perfectly to fill the gap.
The Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy team expects to grow to six occupational therapists, with three speech therapists. They also see a need to add a part-time mental health provider to the staff. That level of expansion will likely occur after their first year in this new location. However, they are building out the facility to meet those growth goals. Benedict-Lee explained that only half the space would open by February 1st due to anticipated construction delays. They hope the remainder of the work will be completed in March but acknowledge that even minor renovation work is experiencing months of delays.
Look for construction activity to increase over the next few months as crews prepare the space for the clinic staff. The building should be fully operational by spring, with plenty of patients and their parents accessing Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy’s resources. Parents interested in knowing more can visit the company website or Facebook page, and staff are reachable by calling 503-502-7515 or sending an email to email@example.com.
In October of this year, Simon Kim of K & S Auto Center announced his retirement and the closing of the business. This decision marks an end to 25 years of serving Montavilla’s car care needs by this experienced mechanic. The three-bay auto shop at 7010 NE Glisan Street is currently available to lease.
Simon Kim moved to Portland with his family in 1994, opening up the automotive service center on NE Glisan. The Kim Family owns the commercial building and an attached residence on NE 70th Ave. One other business, HANKBUILT at 7006 NE Glisan Street, remains open at that location.
Yesterday, construction crews began installing the new aluminum and glass storefront at 7850 SE Stark Street. The owners of Flipside Hats bought this building at the beginning of the year to become the new headquarters and factory for their apparel company. When completed, two new shops will occupy this space.
The majority of the building will support hat production, retail, and other business operations for the company. However, Flipside Hat owner Jacob Wollner thought the showroom did not need to occupy the entirety of the storefront. There was an opportunity to split the space and create a second 609 square-foot shop for another tenant. That second storefront will have a separate main entrance and restroom. Wollner explained that it would be an ideal space for a small flower shop or jewelry store. Although prospective tenants have shown interest, none have committed to opening there.
The buildout was delayed by a slower than expected city permitting process and a personal matter that took Wollner out of the country. Until recently, the installation of six gooseneck barn lights above the windows was the only outward sign of construction at the site. Now work has ramped up again, and progress is visible. Wollner’s full vision of the building has taken form now that the new aluminum and glass storefront is in place.
The building began its existence in 1946, housing the Hook Cycle Shop. Later, Mt. Tabor Schwinn Cyclery took over the space until the mid-1980s. In 1998 a group bought the building for their business, Electronic Claims Services. At that time, the owners removed the storefront and transformed the structure into an office building. This current renovation work is restorative, bring back the shopfront appearance lost in the last century’s remodel.
Soon, Flipside hat staff will relocate from their current store at 4438 SE Belmont Street to this new Montavilla location. For twenty years, the building has had its shades drawn and doors shut to the neighborhood. However, even before the store opens on Stark Street, this refacing project will reconnect the continuous retail on the block. Once again, the inviting light of shops will shine out onto the sidewalk and guide shoppers along Montavilla’s historic main street.
The 10,000 square-foot warehouse located at 7056 NE Glisan Street is for lease. The space is vacant and available for immediate occupancy. The property houses two other businesses, True North Studios at 455 NE 71st Ave and another business at 7034 NE Glisan Street.
City Houses Inc. manages this property of four separate addresses. Both 7044 and 7056 NE Glisan are offered together at the cost of one dollar per square foot. However, the owner would divide it into two spaces again if desired by a new tenant. Interested businesses should contact 503-235-1781 for more information or to schedule a tour.
UPDATE – Removed reference to the Marijuana-related business closing.
Today, a presentation at Portland City Council revealed a potential new tenant at 8037 SE Stark Street. The presenter explained that a group of veterinarians intended to create an urgent-care veterinary clinic in the corner shopfront. However, required site improvements could diminish or cancel their plans. This project served as one example in the presentation to support a temporary suspension of nonconforming upgrade requirements.
In the City Council AM Session on Wednesday, June 23rd, Matt Wickstrom with the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) shared a slide deck endorsing the temporary regulatory changes. The proposal seeks to remove the nonconforming upgrade burden on tenants during a post-COVID-19 recovery timeframe. Currently, on projects costing over $306,000, the applicant must spend up to ten percent of the project’s valuation on improving the property to current zoning requirements. Nonconforming upgrades trigger on existing developments where a tenant proposes an alteration or renovations, but site features no longer comply with city standards. These fees can sometimes stifle businesses attempting to fill empty commercial properties as the project costs can increase beyond what their budget will allow. Older buildings are most susceptible to this type of hidden development cost due to the number of regulatory changes made over time.
The proposal would exempt projects from being evaluated for nonconforming improvements until March 21st, 2023. After that date, city staff expects Portland’s economy will have recovered. However, the proposal doesn’t consider project size or the applicant’s ability to pay for the upgrades. As a result, larger projects could slip through without meeting site standards, denying overlooked communities the neighborhood enhancements these rules were designed to provide. Example improvements include tree planting, landscaping, and bicycle parking around the site. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty expressed reservations over passing this moratorium, fearing that large developers would take the opportunity to shirk their social responsibility to provide projects that meet the cities livability standards.
Nonconforming Upgrades include:
Landscaping – particularly parking lot landscaping
Screening – separation between differently zoned sites
On-site pedestrian circulation
An amendment to this proposal delayed the final vote until next week. However, it is likely to pass when it next comes to City Council. The passing of this proposal will clear the way for the urgent-care veterinary clinic to proceed unencumbered by the costs of providing parking lot landscaping. Look for updates to this project in the coming months after next week’s vote.
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