Active construction is well underway at Pacific Plaza, on the corner of SE Division and 82nd Ave. Much of the steel frame has been constructed and the metal studwork is filling in the gaps. Near 80% of the roof work has also been constructed.
The building at 2464 SE 82nd Ave was little more than early foundation work back in February, when Montavilla News first reported on the project. Now the size and impact of the project is apparent to all that pass through the busy intersection. The project will pick up momentum quickly from here on out, until the building is ready for tenant buildout.
No new tenants are yet known, but this prominent location should attract interest for one of the ten storefronts being built. Below are several pictures documenting the progress.
One of the two Family Fun RV locations along SE 82nd Ave, is noticeably devoid of any RVs. They have consolidated their inventory of new and used RVs to the 333 SE 82nd Ave location. All branding and signage remains up, however the lot looks empty.
When reached for comment, a representative from Family Fun RV said the 1027 SE 82nd Ave location is still in use as a service location. He further explained that due to the current social distancing in effect, they have decided to keep only one location open to shoppers.
It is Family Fun RV’s intention to reopen the 1027 SE 82nd Ave location for sales, and balance the inventory between both locations. However this is dependant on when restrictions are lifted.
As a neighborhood whose boundary is set by two freeways and is crisscrossed by major streets, Montavilla is defined by roads. 82nd Avenue has acted as an important bisecting line of the neighborhood for over 100 years. In 2019, 82nd Ave was the focus for both the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). The city sees it as an emerging Civic Corridor, and has adopted two plans to address deficiencies in the roadway.
Unlike all our other streets in Montavilla, 82nd Avenue is not currently maintained by the City of Portland. The heavily used roadway is instead an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) highway and is under that department’s ownership. Many of the changes we will be seeing on 82nd Ave will be in support of an effort underway to transfer ownership of 82nd Ave (OR 213) from ODOT to the City of Portland.
Passed in May 2019, the 82nd Avenue Plan has enhanced pedestrian and bicycle crossings, increased lighting, and traffic signal changes. In addition, enhanced transit priority and bus stop improvements are recommended along 82nd Ave. These changes have the goal to improve the reliability, speed, and capacity of TriMet bus line 72.
In the 82nd Avenue Study, completed last year, the BPS identified infrastructure barriers to development. In addition to some zoning and social barriers, the lack of safe crossing and walkable sidewalks is a major issue along 82nd Avenue. The 82nd Avenue Plan seeks to address this by increasing the public right-of-way from each side of the center line of NE and SE 82nd Ave. New construction would need to provide a setback of 45 feet from the center of 82nd Avenue, or a minimum of 12 feet behind the existing curb line, whichever is greater. This would create 12 foot sidewalk corridors with a 6 feet maintained clear for pedestrians.
Beyond the new increased right-of-way along 82nd Avenue, special Pedestrian Districts will be created to support greater walkability in certain areas. The Montavilla Pedestrian District is centered around Stark street.
Pedestrian District minimums are increased to provide 15 foot wide sidewalk, with 8 feet reserved for pedestrian access. The Remming 7 feet are used for tree buffer and utility equipment along the street edge and a shop frontage buffer.
This interactive map shows where sidewalks will be widened and the property setback required now. Marty Stockton, with the Transportation Planning Coordination / Comprehensive and Strategic Planning for BPS, outlined the two scenarios that will trigger building of these new sidewalks. Speaking via email, Stockton said capital improvements projects by either the City or ODOT would rebuild sidwalkes to these news standards. Secondly, redevelopment that is significant enough to trigger dedication and improvements would also require rebuilding sidewalks to these new standards. Stockton clarified, “it’s highly possible that a property could build an addition or tenant improvement permit that wouldn’t trigger the right-of-way dedication and related improvements.”
In most instances, residents or Montavilla will not see our sidwals transform overnight. These changes will be seen block by block and sporadically over many years. The work is dependent on roadwork projects and private investment in our neighborhood. However, it is through these changes that Portland can incentivise pedestrian friendly development in our area. It demonstrates a collective faith that 82nd Avenue will grow into a Civic Corridor, warranting investment and development.
Tucked in the back of a micro shopping complex on SE 82nd Ave, is a new Montavilla dining destination. Erica’s Soul Food opened at the beginning of 2020 and it can be easy to miss if you are not looking for it. It is located in a food cart attached to the back half of the Henry’s Market building at 803 SE 82nd Ave, adjacent to Growler’s Taproom. Growler’s Taproom shares a covered patio with Erica’s Soul Food, offering a good mix of drink and food options at one table.
My wife and I are a difficult pair to accommodate at restaurants. I eat Vegan and my wife eats everything but does not like Vegan only food. Fortunately Erica’s Soul Food offers a wide range of sides that are all Vegan. They were able to make an impressive plate of sides into a filling meal.
The food is an appropriate amount of spicy for soul food. Hot sauce is not needed, the heat is cooked in. All the flavors were surprising and vibrant, while being true to the dishes origin. The Vegan Mac & Cheese turned the plate of sides into a full meal and begged to be completely devoured.
My wife spent a decade of her formative years in the South. So she was excited to find a soul food spot so close to home and not over priced. She too found it spicy and good. Although she would not call it southern soul food, it is definitely a good spot. She lamented the lack of Fried Green Tomatoes on the menu but there is plenty of other dishes to try and I suspect my wife will work her way through them all.
We both will be returning soon, friends in tow. Erica’s Soul Food has a strong Instagram presence and orders can be delivered by GrubHub. Best of all, it is walking distance for many in Montavilla. I highly recommend you give them a visit.
Finished almost two years ago, the Flex at 2110 SE 82nd Ave still has not secured a tenant. An architecturally recognized building, it has many attributes that make it highly desirable. The building has wide open spaces with natural light, and quality finishes throughout. The landscaping is immaculately maintained, the parking lot does not have a single oil drop. No one would guess it has been available for 20 months.
A year ago the Business Tribune wrote a glowing review of the architectural successes of the Flex building. The article rightly calls out the rich textures of the timber framing, and the industrial influences that are are throughout the buildings. None more notable than its metal roll-down doors and loading dock style alignment. Such a glowing review should have called all the right attention to the property.
Unlike some similarly constructed properties, transportation is not a dissuading factor. It has ample parking accessible from both SE 82nd Ave and SE 83rd Ave. It has a protected bike room and the bathrooms have showers. There is access to mass transit surrounds the building. The Flex on 82nd checks many of the boxes for a desirable office or storefront space. These positive attributes have not been ignored. Prospective tenants included a restaurant, event space rental, dance studio, cross fitness gym, and rock climbing space. All, up to recently, have not materialized into a lease.
The listing agent, Robbie MacNichol with Debbie Thomas Real Estate, provided some insight into why this building has taken time to find a tenant. Speaking over the phone, MacNichol explained how the lengthy process of leasing the property was anticipated by the owner. The owner of the property is accustomed to being at the forefront of a changing area. He knows change takes time, particularly when you are early to the process.
The other projects, by the buildings owner, are are mostly in California but his desire is to make sure the property remains Portland in its implementation. Some motivated renters were turned away because they did not fit what he imagined for the building. Originally the building was intended to be cut into many separate spaces, for a variety of tenants. Similar to how other retail spaces are configured in the area. However, after learning from the first year of showing the property, one or two large tenants seems like a better fit.
The rental flyer positions the building similarly to other properties in its price range but not perhaps in this location. However MacNichol admints, this would be a unique building to represent regardless of what part of town it was in. It is a shiny, different type of building than what is on SE 82nd Ave. Some people have disliked how different it is but others see it as the change that is needed for the area. Debbie Thomas Real Estate was an early Pearl District realtor, so the hope is those skills will translate into success with 82nd’s transformation.
If we expect 82nd Ave to evolve, places like the Flex need to succeed. Not because everything needs to look like a version of the Pearl District to be successful but because 82nd needs variety. Buildings and businesses have to attract the full range of visitors. People need to walk, live, and work in this place for it to become something more than a roadside attractions off the highway.
Change is taking hold on SE 82nd Ave. There is the new Pacific Plaza a few doors down at the corner and more on the way. MacNichol says the Flex is in final negotiations with a tenant. They are set to occupy the whole building. This change is early and needs time but we are seeing movement now. It is exciting times for this part of Montavilla.
The corner of SE 82nd Ave and Division is gaining a new multi-tenant retail building. Located across the street from Portland Community College, at 2464 SE 82nd Ave, this building will further improve the prominent corner. The building will support at least ten distinct storefronts with external access or access through a shared central hallway. The actual number of stores will depend on how the interior is divided. There will be parking in the back of the building, with access from SE 82nd Ave and SE 83rd Ave. On the busy corner, the building is notched with a setback. This should make it comfortable for pedestrians and drivers alike by providing open space to stand back from the edge of the curb.