Tag: Montavilla Town

Dual Storefront Remodel on SE Stark

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.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

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.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

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.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

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.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

Five Minute Fast Stop on Stark

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) posted a new sign on SE Stark Street near 81st Ave this week. The purple and white parking indicator is part of a new pilot project by the city to offer permanent five-minute free parking zones for quick drop-offs and pickups. Similar to the new Slow Streets planters, this is a pandemic-inspired program adopted into continual use.

These short-term parking spaces began as part of PBOT’s successful Healthy Businesses program to support businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting this month, PBOT is piloting these five-minute zones in five locations throughout the city with the intention to deploy them citywide. A motorist can park in these spaces to accomplish any task that takes five minutes or less. City staff envisions these spaces supporting local businesses by allowing customers to pick up take-out food or provide delivery drivers a reliable place to park during their rounds. Taxi, Uber, or Lyft vehicles could also use these spaces to cut down on double parking and pickup confusion.

Image courtesy of PBOT

The four other 5 Minute Fast Stop pilot locations are on Mississippi Street, NW 23rd Avenue, SE Division Street, and SW Harvey Milk Street. PBOT offers a map featuring the five locations on the program’s website. That page will update if the program expands to more places. With the new signs now posted, PBOT intends to study the performance of these pilot locations to make sure they are working as intended. As part of the evaluation process, PBOT will survey community members, businesses, private for-hire drivers, and other gig economy workers about their experience with these short-term parking spaces.

Montavilla is part of a small group of locations in this pilot project. Residents now have a unique opportunity to participate in a test that could reshape parking throughout Portland. On your next visit to Montavilla Town for a short visit, consider parking in the new space and then provide feedback to PBOT about your experience when the survey becomes available.

 

Montavilla’s New Public Plaza

Starting today, a small portion of SE 79th Ave north of SE Stark Street is transforming into a Public Plaza. Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) will create the car-free gathering space as part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Safe Streets Initiative. The program designates safe outdoor areas in neighborhoods across Portland, connecting communities and supporting economic recovery.

The Plaza will open to the public starting this weekend and remain accessible through Labor Day, September 6th. METBA plans to host several entertainment events in the space over the next few months. When not used for events, outdoor furniture in the Plaza will be available for spontaneous community use. The permit for the Plaza lasts through October, allowing a potential expanded season for events if residents express interest.

Unlike the Parking Plazas used by businesses along local streets, this temporary installation will block traffic flow through SE 79th Ave. METBA coordinated this project with local businesses and homeowners ahead of the closure. Although adjacent establishments support this new Public Plaza, patrons of those nearby businesses are not the only ones able to use this space. Similar to a public park, it is a family-friendly location for everyone to eat and gather. However, the PBOT permit prohibits the consumption of alcohol within this Plaza. Drinking outdoors will remain limited to licensed Parking Plazas.

Funds for live entertainment in the Plaza come from Travel Oregon. Earlier this year, they distributed grant money towards activities in Oregon that would increase tourism. METBA is currently developing an entertainment schedule consisting of daytime entertainment that won’t disrupt nearby business activities. Live music performances will play a significant role in programming for this Plaza, creating paying work for musicians.

Today volunteers are painting the road mural ahead of the outdoor furniture delivery tomorrow. An assortment of picnic tables, bistro tables, and Adirondack chairs will fill the street. By Saturday, crews will have completed the setup and have the space ready for public use. Keep an eye on METBA‘s website and social media accounts for information about Plaza events. Send questions or comments to Montavilla.Biz@gmail.com.

Academy Theater Opening July 16th

The Academy Theater will reopen to the public next month, 68 weeks after it closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. The opening date appeared last week alongside a detailed accounting of the movie theater’s history. As the 1948 era move house prepares for the July 16th reopening, staff also ready for a busy summer season.

Located at 7818 SE Stark Street, The Academy Theater closed its doors in March 2020. After the last show on Friday the 13th, the staff locked up for a several-week-long intermission while the country tried to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, over a year later, the theater remained dark, even as other surrounding businesses reopened in phases.

After so much time shuttered, extensive work is needed to ready the business for an eager audience. Co-Owner, Heyward Stewart barely has time to prepare everything and has dedicated all his efforts towards that goal. “I am super busy at the moment trying to get things together for our reopening.” However, Stewart is excited that this day is finally approaching and what reopening could mean for the neighborhood. “[We] look forward to being a part of the revitalization of Montavilla.”

The Academy Theater is often seen as the symbolic heart of Montavilla and is an iconic representation of the Stark Street business district. Its reopening will signify the actual end of restrictions and the beginning of returning to normalcy for many. Keep an eye on the movie theater’s marquee for coming attractions and showtimes but regardless of what’s playing, consider a visit to make up for the lost time.

Fire Damaged Building’s Demolition

Today, crews began tearing down the fire-damaged building located at 408 SE 79th Ave. Once the home of Portland Garment Factory, the building suffered complete devastation at the hands of an arsonist. Much of the wood structure burned away in the fire, leaving the unreinforced masonry walls ready to collapse. Demolition experts are addressing the tallest sections of the building first, working their way down and forward.

The fire broke out in the early morning of April 19th and burned for hours. Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to reports of a fire around 3:30 AM. The two-story commercial building is surrounded on both sides by parking lots, preventing the fire from spreading. On April 20th PF&R filed a Dangerous Building report stating that the “exterior walls [are] at risk of collapse.” Soon residents observed the back wall’s separation from the southern side of the building.

The full extent of the demolition process is unknown and may only address hazardous sections of the structure. Built 90 years ago for the Montavilla ice factory, the building underwent many alterations over the decades. Compared to the back two-story portion, the single-story part of the building is constructed out of concrete and suffered only minor structural damage during the fire. However, the cost of salvaging half the building could be unjustified and challenging to reuse.

Look for continued demolition of the building over the next few weeks. The final repurposing of the property is likely years away and may be dependent on a future tenant’s ambitions.

back wall’s separation

UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 20th, 2021.


UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 21st, 2021. Back wall is halfway demolished.


UPDATE – May 24th, 2021. Heavy equipment is onsite and working its way into the buildings core. Demolition will progress more quickly in the coming days.


UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 26th, 2021


UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 27th, 2021


UPDATE – Added demolition progress pictures. May 28th, 2021

Wink Vintage on Stark Street

On April 10th, Wink Vintage opened a new shop on SE Stark Street. The owners merged two successful online vintage businesses into their first physical store. Located at 7909 SE Stark Street, this collaboration from Jennifer Strom and Courtney Kimball provides a curated vintage store where anybody can find something they like. 

Having taken over the recently vacated Union Rose space, the store only required minor updates before opening. Outside of painting walls and sanding the floors, the shop was in a usable condition. “They left it in good shape, so there wasn’t a lot of work to be done,” explained Strom. “[We] just adding our own flair,” added Kimball.

Courtney Kimball and Jennifer Strom

Although both are veterans of the vintage sales market, they had day jobs that provided additional income propr to opening this new shop. Kimball has worked for 20 years as a hairstylist and continues to see clients one day a week. Strom left a five-year-long bartending career to pursue her passion for vintage retail full-time. Both are enthusiastic about their new location in Montavilla and have already found foot traffic encouraging when neighboring businesses are open.

The owners are still adding items to the shop, particularly expanding non-clothing goods. However, they are intent on not overcrowding the shop. Items on the racks represent a fraction of what the pair have collected. They regularly scour garage sales, estate sales, and private collections for the best vintage items. Additionally, they invite people to sell items directly to the store. The expanded collection outside the store allows the business to provide personal shopping services. The store staff can hunt for particular items or recommend something based on past interest. They continue to sell online for the many customers across the country and have a devoted audience on the company’s Instagram.

Vintage clothing will not be the extent of the store’s apparel offerings. Working with a local seamstress, Wink Vintage will produce an in-house line using selectively sourced textiles. The backroom will soon become a workspace for clothing production and the occasional alteration of purchased items.

Only a month old, and the shop is already vibrant and active. They are open from 11 AM to 7 PM Wednesday through Saturday and 11 AM to 5 PM on Sundays. Visit them online and in person to get an idea of what items they have, and don’t be shy about asking them if they can find you a particular item.

Flipside Hats Moving to Stark Street

Portland-based hat manufacture Flipside Hats is relocating to Montavilla later this year. In late February, the company purchased 7850 SE Stark Street to become the new production hub and retail showroom for the nineteen-year-old clothing maker. Upgrades to the company’s future location are in the planning phase, with a tentative opening date in the fall.

Although the hat maker sells most of its products through wholesale channels, the showroom will offer direct-to-consumer sales. Flipside Hats owner Jacob Wollner expressed his enthusiasm for the new location, “We are super excited to move to Stark Street and the Montavilla area.” The showroom’s placement at the center of Montavilla Town will increase walk-in traffic, spotlighting the American-made and sustainably produced work from this apparel manufacturer.

Efforts to restore the former home of Electronic Claims Services into a retail location are already underway. Issued April 8th, permit 20-227665 changes occupancy for the building from Business to Mercantile and proposes a reconfiguration of interior walls. Demolition of two front rooms will create an open area street-side, eventually becoming the showroom. Crews will remove the drop grid ceiling above the front area and expos the entire vertical space to the retail floor below. New LED track lighting replaces the older fixtures to create commerce-friendly lighting. Other alterations are likely as the new owners begin the redesign process.

People interested in a preview of Flipside Hats’ showroom should visit their current location at 4438 SE Belmont Street. They are open seven days a week, from 11 AM to 6 PM on weekdays and weekends from 11 AM to 4 PM. That location will stay in operation until the business and its eight staff relocate to the renovated building on Stark Street.

Mixed manufacturing and retail historically perform well in the area. Located just a block away from Flipside Hats’ building, Union Rose successfully combined clothing production with an existing storefront business. Montavilla retail is known to favor locally created products, and this latest addition strengthens that reputation. Look for activity at the site to increase over the summer as staff prepares the space for opening.

Fire Destroys Garment Factory

A fire broke out early morning at the Portland Garment Factory located at 408 SE 79th Ave. The 1931 era building suffered a complete structural collapse of its wood structure. The masonry portion of the building remains intact, but the building’s internal structure is a total loss. Representatives from Paul Davis Restoration, who are securing the site, indicated that the whole building is likely unsalvageable and requires demolition.

Portland Fire & Rescue responded to reports of a fire around 3:30 AM Monday. They found the building engulfed in flames and worked to contain the fire from spreading. The two-story commercial building is surrounded on both sides by parking lots. A single-story building on SE 80th abuts the rear wall of the Garment Factory. Damage to that building is not apparent.

Portions of SE Stark Street, SE 80th Ave, and SE 79th Ave are closed while fire crews continue to monitor the extinguished fire and prevent flare-ups. A GoFundMe donation page was established to help Portland Garment Factory rebuild their business ( https://gofund.me/19ab100f ).

Stark Street blocked by fire crews.

UPDATE – Building demolition begins on May 19th, 2021.

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.

UPDATE – Completed exterior

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

Ya Hala Repaints Logo

Yesterday, painters replaced the marquee logo at Ya Hala Lebanese Cuisine. The updated sign adds color behind lowercase “ya hala” text. The previous text featured a thin monochrome font reading “Ya Hala Lebanese Plates – Established 1999.”

Located at 8005 SE Stark Street, the staple of Montavilla Town last painted their building in 2016. The update is an inspiring indication of our community’s gradual reopening after a year of COVID-19 restrictions.

Ya Hala from 2016