I published my story after reading a story in The Oregonian that I interpreted as meaning it was a done deal. I should have held my story and contacted a few sources because now I’ve learned that the deal is far from done.
“I currently have no agreement with Parks for the space…I’m not ready to jump up and down with joy just yet.”
— Ken Nichols, Bike Republic
Ken Nichols, the developer behind the Bike Republic concept told me via telephone today that he has no official agreement with the Portland Parks Bureau yet. Nichols wants to be clear that the only recent development is that Parks has decided to only negotiate with him from now — but those negotiations are just getting underway.
“I currently have no agreement with Parks for the space. We have a good situation and relationship going, but I haven’t even seen a template of a lease yet.”
Nichols says he’s happy with the direction things are going, but that he’s, “not ready to jump up and down with joy just yet.”
He also wanted to clarify that the services he’ll offer at the site still depend on, “what type of build-out is allowed by Parks.”
Unlike what I reported earlier, he said he has no plans for showers, locker rooms, or long-term bike parking. “My hope,” he said, “is for a cafe, rentals of human powered vehicles (not just bikes), and bike repair and accessory retail.” In addition, he said that at this point, a Laughing Planet Cafe in the building is not a guarantee.
Part of the confusion is that his company, Bike Republic, has a larger mission of creating and operating facilities that encourage “non-car commuting and urban outdoor recreation.” In addition to the McCall’s site, Nichols is working with downtown developers and building owners to locate bike-commuter facilities like showers, personal lockers, and related amenities.
As for the McCall’s site, Nichols says he has an historic preservation architect on his team and that once he gets the green light from Parks, it would take about 9-11 months to build.
Nichols hopes to have the official “OK” from Parks and a lease signed by the end of this month. After that, it will need to be passed by City Council.
Stay tuned for more developments… and I apologize for any confusion with my previous story.