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Q&A: Peter Andrews on Portland’s bike-powered office boom

Posted by on August 20th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

“If you’re serious” in Portland commercial real estate,
Melvin Mark broker Peter Andrews says, good
indoor bike parking is no longer optional.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland’s central-city office market is soaring out of the recession, and bike, foot and transit access are driving its desirability.

“It’s the busiest I’ve ever seen our marketplace in 10 years,” says Peter Andrews, a broker for the major Portland-based real estate firm Melvin Mark.

An enthusiastic rider himself, Andrews has been finding bikes and low-car transportation spread through his professional life, too.

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His firm is preparing to offer its fifth consecutive central-city building with dedicated bike parking, a 73,000-square-foot remodel of the former Bally’s Total Fitness building on the block between Southwest Yamhill, Taylor, Second and First, immediately south of the car-free plaza on Yamhill Street. It’ll be what you might call the first Pearl-style office building south of Burnside, with high ceilings, open flexible space inside and access to an 8,000 square foot rooftop terrace, plus some retail facing Second Avenue.

I met Andrews, 32, in May at the Portland Employers Bike Summit, where he was speaking about the importance of bike access to his projects. I followed up in more depth to get his take on the types of employers that are embracing bikes fastest and where he thinks human-oriented development is heading next.

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  • BURR August 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    The Portland Business Alliance should be paying more attention, instead of continuing to try and cram more motor vehicle access to downtown down our throats.

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  • Garlynn August 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I also wonder about this thing spreading to the neighborhoods; you know, employees like to have lots of funky options for eating out at lunch. Places like Hawthorne, Alberta, etc. have that, but they don’t necessarily have much, if any, office space for lease. I wonder if/when we’ll start to see office/retail mixed use start popping up in those corridors, in addition to the (somewhat becoming-normal) residential/retail mixed use?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor) August 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      This is definitely starting to happen. Not a lot yet, but a bit. Possible future real estate beat article for sure.

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    • Nate Young August 21, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Agreed. Especially as one of the [more likely] options the city is envisioning in future growth and expansion includes massive growth along certain transit oriented corridors. (
      The N. Interstate corridor is a prime example that is expected to absorb something like 50% population growth for the surrounding neighborhoods over the next 20 years. With some forethought, there could be a decent amount of small commercial space available in that buildout so those new residents can stay out of their cars. There will already by lots of storefront space on the ground floor of the new apartment buildings. Why not add a floor or two of commercial office space as well?
      Ensuring that both the residential and commercial buildings in this buildout are bike/ped/transit friendly will be key to continuing the decrease in car use.

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  • Mark C August 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Gee, aren’t businesses all fleeing to the suburbs to escape Portland’s oppressive taxes:

    I guess some businesses find that paying a little more in taxes is worth it (at least I hope so).

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Brian E. August 21, 2013 at 7:27 am

      Thank yo for making me laugh!

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  • Alex Reed August 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I love the real estate beat!!

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  • Hart Noecker August 22, 2013 at 2:57 am

    At least Walmart Labs is totally up front about equating the consumption of a product with having an actual experience.

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