Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 25th, 2011 at 10:06 am
Portland’s first major public bike
(Photo: Naito Properties)
The Dekum Building on SW 3rd and Washington in downtown Portland was built in 1892. It’s the oldest office building in the city and the former home of famed global ad agency Wieden + Kennedy. Now, building owner and manager Naito Properties hope it gains distinction as the largest public bike parking facility in Portland (and it just happens to be right across the street from the bank vault bike parking in the Spalding Building).
Verne Naito, who’s managing the Dekum for his family’s company, Naito Properties (the same family Naito Parkway is named after), says the owner of the building has set aside 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space that has already been permitted by the city for bicycle parking and is already built out to fit 300 bicycles.
The idea would be something similar to a Bikestation, which, despite toying with the idea for years, no one in Portland has been able to pull off.
“We’re looking for someone who sees this as a great business opportunity and also someone who wants to encourage bicycle commuting.”
— Verne Naito, Naito Properties
Many of the building’s current tenants get to work by bike and, since space for parking cars wasn’t a consideration in 1892 (“Horses liked to be tied up outdoors,” Naito says), most of them park in their offices. “It’s causing minor damage as tires and pedals mar 110 year old marble and wood work,” Naito, an avid architectural conservationist, wrote to us via email, “The damage is tragic, but avoidable.”
The owner of the Dekum is on-board with the bike parking idea. The only thing missing is someone to operate it. “We’re looking for someone who sees this as a great business opportunity and also someone who wants to encourage bicycle commuting,” Naito says.
(Photo: Dana Troy)
Naito touts the building’s prime location just blocks from the Morrison bridgehead and close to Waterfront Park. He also says there are several other large office buildings nearby whose tenants would jump at the chance for a secure, indoor bike parking option. To find an operator of this business, Naito has been shopping around a want ad titled, Bicycle Parking Business Opportunity.
Naito has been working on this project for about two years. Since we first reported about his mysterious “Portland Bikestation” signs back in June 2009, Naito has been looking for the right operator and finalizing all the details.
“We’d like an operator with business experience, but more importantly for someone who has a vision for what bicycle commuting can do to energize the downtown office district.”
Any takers? If interested, get in touch with Mr. Naito via email at verne[at]naitoproperties[dot]com.