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Apartment Boom in Portland, Oregon

A new residential development is growing in the Lloyd District in Northeast Portland, Oregon. By summer 2015, the area should see a complete transformation with the addition of the planned 660-unit development, which will range from tiny studios to penthouses and consist of nearly 60,000 square feet of retail space. To be called Hassalo on Eighth, the three-building development will be the first of four planned construction phases intended to completely redefine and bring new life to the area. To some this appears a positive indication of forward progress. To others, still haunted by memories of the pre-recession building frenzy, it is a harbinger of things to come and a massive step in the wrong direction.

“We think we can create a neighborhood where, right now, it’s just an employment center,” said John Chamberlain, president and CEO of American Assets Trust (AAT), the San Diego-based real estate developer that scooped up a $92-million portfolio of Lloyd District properties in 2011. “This is a transformational project for the district and the city.”

Although AAT’s $250-million residential development is one of the largest and most influential in the city, it’s hardly the only one of its kind. With a four-story, 24-unit development springing up on Southeast Division Street, and another four-story, 50-unit one in the Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood, it’s safe to say this apartment craze taking over Portland is not an isolated phenomenon. Take into account the 206-unit expansion coming to the Cook Street Apartments at the North Williams/Vancouver corridor in 15 months, or the 180 units coming to the Aleta just across the way, and you start to get a gauge of the scale of density Portland’s heading for.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to a fall 2013 construction report made by Mark D. Berry & Associates, a Portland-based appraisal company, more than 5,300 units came on the market in late 2012 and 2013, with another 5,000 underway and scheduled for completion in late 2013 and 2014.

While some feel this new wave of construction sweeping across Portland is a truly positive endeavor, revivifying and bringing new life to parts of the city that have languished over the years, others are not quite so optimistic. The construction can bring new energy into these communities, but it can also rub people the wrong way, transforming the area in ways that are not to everyone’s liking, forcing long-time residents out due to higher housing costs, and doing away with a lot of the aspects that brought people to the area in the first place. Is this sharp spike in density the right move for Portland’s future? Only time will tell.

Source: Oregon Business

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