A vacant and often tagged building on SE Division Street may soon become a new seafood export facility. The single-story commercial building at 8827 SE Division Street has sat empty since Hubcap World closed in 2017. During those years, miscreants have targeted the building, covering it with graffiti and breaking windows. Past attempts to rehabilitate the property failed to materialize. Now, a new business hopes to repurpose the 1949-era wood-frame building, but upgrade costs could halt the project.
Ken Yu, with Kaly Designs, is leading the permitting process for the currently unnamed seafood export company. Yu explained that his client owns Longs Seafood Market at SE Powell and 92nd Avenue and wants to open a separate business focused on shipping domestically caught shellfish abroad. The Powell business is “a retail store, but this one is gonna be strictly for wholesale distribution, mainly for exporting overseas. It’s not selling inside the US.” Said Yu.
Yu has worked on similar seafood export redevelopments in this area, with one completed recently down the street from this location. “It’s kind of a trend, people starting to export US seafood overseas. Apparently, there’s a demand for that,” remarked Yu. This new business will focus on lobsters, oysters, and other crustaceans packed live and flown to their final destination. “They put oxygen in there and then put in dry ice, and then they ship it overseas to Hong Kong, China, [and] Vietnam,” explained Yu.
The new seafood export company has limited funds for building repairs. They are only leasing the property, with most of the startup funds dedicated to the seafood tanks, freezers, and refrigerator units needed to run the operation. Plans for the structure are focused on repairs to the exterior of the building, patching holes, and making it watertight. If they make significant changes to the building, the City may require more upgrades than the business can afford. “This is an old building, so if you do anything structural here, there can be a seismic upgrade and all that,” said Yu. Consequentially, the lease on this property is contingent on Portland Official approving the Change Of Occupancy from Mercantile to Storage, along with the minor repairs needed to open in this location. Otherwise, this site will not work out. Yu said that the property owners ran into similar issues two years ago when they intended to remodel the place, and those required updates caused them to abandon that work.
Ken Yu and his client are now waiting for the permitting process to move forward. They hope that the City will approve this project faster than other recent projects. In those cases, receiving a permit has taken over a year. Delays and forced structural updates could make this location less desirable for the business. The property is otherwise an ideal site for the seafood exporter, with vehicle access from SE 89th Avenue and a wide-open interior. If things work out, this vacant building will be in use again, with consistent maintenance and minor updates to its appearance.
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