The Real Estate Beat

Welcome to our special coverage of how real estate and housing are closely intertwined with bicycling in Portland. We’ll track the latest bike-friendly developments (both commercial and residential) and share our analysis of how low-car trends are impacting the places we live and work. The Real Estate Beat is edited and produced by our News Editor Michael Andersen.

80 percent of Portland’s top-ranked restaurants have one thing in common

by on November 27th, 2015 at 12:24 pm

DOC on Northeast 30th, Lincoln on North Williams, Paley’s Place on Northwest 21st.
(Images: Google Street View)

In a splashy report on KGW.com last week, the much-loved Portland chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok lamented the recent lack of off-street auto parking on the street where he built his fame.

Developers of Portland’s future Division Streets are “going to need to lose some commercial space to parking,” Ricker told the news channel.

If that were to be the case, it’d be a big shift for future players in Portland’s nationally famous restaurant scene. Of the 93 Portland restaurants in Willamette Week’s “Restaurant Guide 2015” list released this month, 74 — Pok Pok among them — chose to set up shop in buildings that don’t have any car parking at all.


Portland may require developers to offer residents, employees $600 for biking or transit

by on November 11th, 2015 at 8:40 am

bta reception area
Downtown employer New Relic already offers in-office bike parking, but it doesn’t buy you a bike. Not yet.
(Photo: New Relic)

Got a new job in Portland? Have a new bike.

Deals like that could become common under a set of proposed rules being discussed by the City of Portland that might require developers or property managers to give each new resident or on-site worker $600 that could be spent only on non-car transportation: a nice new bike, six months of TriMet passes, four years of bike share memberships, or whatever.

The one-time payment would trigger at the time of move-in or hire. The goal is to make Portland’s streets cleaner and more efficient by reducing auto use.


Kaiser parking plan could threaten key bikeway but may boost Lloyd’s boom

by on November 2nd, 2015 at 10:38 am

lloyd parking lot
People bike on NE 7th Avenue north of Multnomah, across the street from one of Kaiser Permanente’s three surface parking lots.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

There aren’t many ways that a new six-story $13 million parking garage subsidized by a health care company is good news. But at least in this case it might not be entirely bad.

Kaiser Permanente, the medical insurer and provider that owns more than three acres of surface and two-story parking lots between Northeast Grand Avenue, 7th Avenue, Wasco Street and Holladay Street, said Monday that it’s looking to build a new 700-space garage with ground-floor retail at 500 NE Multnomah Street.

That’s the site of Kaiser’s existing, seismically delicate two-story parking garage, immediately east and southeast of its office tower.

The site is adjacent to a MAX stop with service east and west every three to seven minutes for most of the day, plus a streetcar line and four bus lines, three of which offer frequent service or will soon.


New 78-unit apartment will include downtown Beaverton’s first bike wash

by on October 20th, 2015 at 3:51 pm

The Signal will offer extensive bike parking and car parking spaces will be optional.
(Rendering courtesy Metro)

Beaverton is looking to get a slice of Portland’s walkable-bikeable apartment boom.

Tomorrow morning, developers and city officials will break ground at the vacant lot at Southwest First Street and Angel Avenue in Beaverton’s streetcar-era Old Town neighborhood, officially kicking off construction of The Signal.

The four-story building will be about two blocks from Beaverton High School, half a mile from the Beaverton Transit Center and 2.5 miles from Nike headquarters.


The new Lloyd apartments’ bike parking is already full – maybe too full

by on October 15th, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Bike parking at the new Velomor building in the Lloyd District.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

It’s hard to say yet whether living in Velomor is leading people to bike more. But the people who’ve moved in certainly own a lot of bikes.

Bike parking for the 177-unit Lloyd District building that opened in July is already full and overflowing, and the apartment managers have set up two overflow racks in the still-vacant first-floor retail space that faces Holladay Street. Residents access the overflow racks by asking a concierge to let them in.

Velomor, the first of three buildings to open at Hassalo on Eighth, is currently about 80 percent occupied but almost entirely leased up for next month, a concierge said Thursday.


As Portland’s housing shortage boils over, its mandatory car-housing policy seems safe

by on October 9th, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Justin Buri of the Community Alliance of Tenants tells Portland city council that Portland renters have a “right to the city” that is being denied by rising prices.
(Video: City of Portland)

At City Hall on Wednesday, a searing picture of what it means to be a low-income renter, looking for space in Portland’s housing crisis.

At City Hall on Thursday, a seemingly earnest discussion of whether it’s fair to charge cars more than $0 for taking up space.

Nobody is claiming that an opt-in neighborhood parking permit system — the main measure the city is considering — is anything close to a solution for Portlanders searching for housing amid one of the country’s worst housing shortages. Still, it was odd this week to watch Portland’s City Council lament as if capitalism mandated that even the very poor must pay for 130 square feet of bedroom, and then 21 hours later debate whether the government should continue to guarantee free 130-square-foot parking spaces almost everywhere in the city.


How much should parking permits cost? Four ways the city could find out

by on October 1st, 2015 at 10:07 am

Space is valuable. But who wants to vote on what it’s worth?
(Photos: M.Andersen and J.Maus/BikePortland)

Last year, Portland hired a top-dollar consulting firm for advice on the best way to manage the auto parking that’s become increasingly scarce in a few neighborhoods.

Twelve months later, the city is taking steps toward some of its recommendations: for example, proposing an opt-in parking permit system that would let residential neighborhoods block their street parking spaces from being used by people living or shopping on commercial corridors.

But at the moment, Portland is on course to ignore a different suggestion made very clearly by the firm, Nelson\Nygaard: that elected officials should “never, ever” be the ones to set the price of parking.


The Oregonian blames ‘hipster hovels,’ not massive housing shortage, for rising rents

by on September 22nd, 2015 at 5:49 pm

housing and population change
(Data: Census Bureau, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Charts: BikePortland.)

In a big new story promoted using its new “watchdog” label, The Oregonian has determined that a wave of new apartments that account for 3 percent of Portland’s housing supply are the best way to start talking about a trend that is rapidly pushing Portland homes out of middle-class reach.

From 2006 to 2014, Census figures show, Multnomah County’s population grew 79 percent faster than its housing supply. The surge of apartments that began to open in 2012 have barely made a dent in the deep shortage that developed during the Great Recession, when housing construction nearly stopped but 10,000 people kept pouring into Multnomah County each year.

In 1,600 well-crafted words about Portland’s housing problems, the newspaper doesn’t find room to mention these facts.


At rally, renters’ group calls for mandatory one-year notice of big rent hikes

by on September 16th, 2015 at 10:22 am

Rent hikes threaten to prevent anyone but the rich from living in bikeable, walkable parts of Portland, tenants’ advocates warned.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Surrounded by about 200 worried tenants, by a contingent of local media and by zero elected officials, Portland’s most prominent renters’ advocacy group declared a “renters’ state of emergency” Tuesday.

Saying that they’ve seen a wave of no-cause evictions and huge rent hikes throughout the city, the Community Alliance of Tenants called for two actions that its staff admitted might not be allowed under current law: a one-year citywide moratorium on no-cause evictions and a requirement that landlords give one year’s notice to tenants of any rent hike larger than 5 percent.


Burnside Bridgehead project includes possible bike-through retail window

by on August 11th, 2015 at 4:44 pm

burnside bikes rendering
Though it’s a shame that the creators of this image seem to have been unaware of the existence of Couch Street’s bike lane, they do seem to be enthusiastic about serving people who arrive by bike.
(Image: Key Development)

In the latest burst of bike-oriented development on the Burnside Bridgehead, a developer is considering turning the tables on all those drive-through windows that allow cars but not bikes.

Key Development has proposed a 20,000-square-foot, $7 million commercial building on the space immediately west of Couch Street’s southward curve towards the Burnside Bridge. Currently in design review, the project would include a bike-oriented retail plaza, possibly with a bike-through window.

It might also function as a sort of annex that’d create easy bridge-level bike access to residents of the big 21-story tower that’s now in construction right behind it.