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Bike lanes may help spur big changes at Lloyd Center Mall

Posted by on January 2nd, 2014 at 3:07 pm

The Lloyd Center Mall’s new owners are assembling plans that might remodel this parking garage to create a new street-friendly storefront opening onto Multnomah Street and Holladay Park.
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
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The two-story parking garage that for 50 years has walled off Portland’s biggest mall could be in for change, people familiar with the plans say.

The Lloyd Center Mall’s new owners have hired a New York-based planning consultant to help imagine a new human-friendly entrance for the mall facing Multnomah Street, which Lloyd District landowners are redesigning as a major commercial corridor in the wake of a project that slowed auto traffic by replacing two general travel lanes with protected bike lanes.

“I’m very, very excited for what they want to do,” said Terry Goldman, manager of the neighboring Doubletree Hotel and an attendee of a recent meeting to discuss the plans with neighbors. “They want to make it a grand entrance. I think the asset manager for the owners, he stood up in front of the room and said, ‘Our entrance to our mall is a parking garage?'”

Portland parks manager Sue Glenn, whose job involves maintaining Holladay Park, agreed. “From the park’s perspective, it’s almost like the mall’s back is to us,” she said. “They’re really interested in opening that up.”

Dallas-based Cypress Equities bought the three-story mall for $148 million last June. There’s no public timeline yet on their plans to rethink the site, but the decision to hire Dan Biederman, founding manager of New York City’s Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, suggests that the plan is serious.

“We’re just trying to explore what will enhance the property,” Wanda Rosenbarger, the mall’s general manager, said in an interview Thursday. “The park is a huge asset.”

Rosenbarger said planners and architects considering the project aren’t sure whether or not the changes would end up reducing the total amount of auto parking at the mall, but that a new front door for the mall that faces Multnomah Street and Holladay Park is on the owners’ wish list.

Lindsay Walker of the Lloyd Transportation Management Association said the plans would fit into the neighborhood’s goals for the newly enhanced street, which also runs perpendicular to a new streetcar line and includes a few new metered auto parking spaces.

“It’d be a wonderful way to reinvigorate what’s sort of a dead space right now,” Walker said of the mall redesign concept. “One of the goals when we embarked on the Multnomah pilot project was to see more ground-level retail, invigorate the street.”

Multnomah project manager Ross Swanson said the property owners adjacent to the redesigned street will meet two to three times this spring to discuss making the protected bike lane permanent.

The mall’s proposed changes, if they happen, would join tens of millions of dollars in real estate development already planned alongside the new protected bike lane — one that drew criticism when it went in as being bad for business.

The new NE Multnomah -7

The protected bike lane separates street from sidewalk.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

In 2012, a KATU-TV report mocked the Multnomah bike lanes as a symbol of “City Hall putting bike projects ahead of basic street repairs” under Mayor Sam Adams. (The report didn’t mention that the Multnomah project cost the city $175,000, 0.0001 percent of the city’s $1.5 billion street maintenance backlog.) Influential local blogger Jack Bogdanski predicted that the Multnomah project was part of a plan to make the area “utterly repulsive to small business.”

The opposite has been true. Wade Lange of American Assets Trust, a major local landowner preparing to redevelop 16 blocks in the area, said last year that though the bikeway certainly didn’t enable their huge projects on its own, the slower traffic speeds on Multnomah Street — caused not by any changes to the speed limit but by narrowing the lanes and adding parking — fit perfectly into creating a more walkable, comfortable and ultimately valuable commercial district.

“You slow the traffic down, you do the landscaping and you get more people walking on the streets, and suddenly the retail exists,” Lange said. “It just becomes a more active street than it ever was before … a place where pedestrians want to spend their time.”

Walker, of the Lloyd TMA, agreed.

“It’s already easier to cross,” she said of Multnomah. “It’s already a more pleasant place to be.”

— The Real Estate Beat took December off but is back for the new year with a string of big low-car development news to break. You can sign up to get an email of Real Estate Beat posts (and nothing else) here, or read past installments here. We are looking for a sponsorship partner. If interested, please call Jonathan at (503) 706-8804.

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Todd Hudson
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Todd Hudson

But will they bring back Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour?

Daniel L
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Daniel L

I have to admit I haven’t gone into Lloyd Center in a couple years, but I seem to remember if you arrive by MAX, or otherwise come from that side on foot, you have to walk through that dank parking garage to even get into the mall. I’m not sure if there’s even a sidewalk through it either. The MAX stop has been there for 20 years too, so one would have thought they’d make a friendlier entry there at some point long ago.

I’m glad to see the new owners rethinking it a bit. Hopefully they’ll keep going and open up the street level of the mall a bit more all the way around at some point.

Pacforth
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Pacforth

Good for the Lloyd, these changes are a long time coming. But mentioning and linking to BoJack’s mouth-breathing rants on the “Bicycle Terrorist Alliance” is beneath this site.

Anne Hawley
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Anne Hawley

ANYTHING they can do to mitigate the zombie-apocalypse feel of those horrible Lloyd Center underneath-things parking lots will be a boon to Northeast Portland. Those places have been scary and dirty and horrible since I was a little kid.

chris
Guest
chris

Demolish the mall, and replace it with condo and apartment towers with ground-floor retail.

i ride my bike
Guest
i ride my bike

Portland rule #1: For anything BoJack says, the opposite is true.

Peter W
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Peter W

Would be awesome if they could figure out how to make 11th go through, maybe as a bike/ped only connection.

Champs
Guest
Champs

“[S]lower traffic speeds on Multnomah Street — caused not by any changes to the speed limit but by narrowing the lanes and adding parking — fit perfectly into creating a more walkable, comfortable and ultimately valuable commercial district.”

BikePortland was not exactly an enthusiastic advocate for 70 new parking spaces, especially where they are curbside, not buffers.

The buffer is nice in theory, but in practice, laterally challenged people rationally err on the side of parking in the paint. Riding between a curb and the door zone that shouldn’t be there is nervous and just a little claustrophobic.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

Will they open up the sidewalk-level door to Macy’s, that they closed in that 90’s remodel? It was right in the middle of that blank wall facing Multnomah. Maybe even some display windows?

Adam
Guest
Adam

This would be amazing on so many levels. Lloyd Center is absolutely hideous. Constructed in the era Bill Bryson kindly dubs “Exposition du Cement”. It currently looks like a giant radiator cooling block. GAG.

I think this proposal would also, more importantly, enhance pedestrian safety NO END. Thousands of people access the mall from the Holladay Park MAX stop. Currently, they have to dodge inpatient car traffic trying to beat the lights to race into the mall to get their parking space. I see so many near misses, between the car drivers driving like idiots, the impatient pedestrians…

They should seriously just do away with the parking lot entrance on this side. There are THREE other parking lot entrances, on NE Halsey, NE 9th, & NE 15th, respectively. Motorists are hardly going to be hurting…

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a mall like Lloyd Center positioned right on top of a light rail stop.
The whole stop could be a skylight atrium outdoor food court combo. Match it up with station facing stores that open to this outdoor/indoor space and you’d get the best of both worlds of indoor malls with outdoor walking retail experience fed customers directly from public transit so the property developers wouldn’t have to build as much or any parking.

AndyC of Linnton
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AndyC of Linnton

Make THAT space the ice skating rink.

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

…hired a New York-based planning consultant…

Like there are none of those in Portland. I bet a few might even be hungry enough to take on a dirty job like that. Hey Cypress Equities, money you spend in Portland will get re-spent in your LCM clients’ businesses, coming back to your pockets. Not that I necessarily want that, mind you.

Jim
Guest
Jim

This whole mall needs a makeover inside and out. The last owners barely ever did anything. Washington square is a beautiful mall that has kept up with the times. Third world countries have nicer malls than this.

nuovorecord
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nuovorecord

i ride my bike
Portland rule #1: For anything BoJack says, the opposite is true.
Recommended 11

“Influential local blogger Jack Bogdanski…”

I snorted coffee out my nose when I got to this line.

Ted Buehler
Guest

I happened to spend a couple hours at the Lloyd Center last night, chilling out looking for books and draperies. It’s a pretty fine place, all the way around. I don’t know why all of you previous 35 posts seem to dislike it so much.

This is what I like about it
* very ethnically diverse group of shoppers. More so than any other place in Portland, especially west of 82nd.
* great winter light when the sun is out
* Big, bright, airy, indoor space. Real plants.
* Very casual, lots of different places to sit and chill, on 3 levels. Cushy seats. Low pressure.
* Sears. Only hardware store in the inner NE. Can get 50% off on things like draperies and bedroom slippers.
* Marshalls and Ross — like dumpster diving, but well-lit, and you only pay a small fee for the convenience of being legal, lit, and choose from a nice selection of cast-offs.
* Barnes and Noble — no cushy leather seats since the 2009 recession, but a decent selection of books and mags in a low-pressure setting. Clean bathrooms (Hello Powells…)
* Food court — lots of bright seating, people watch, skater-watch, read the WW or Merc indoors with real ventilation and good light. None of the food looked wholesome, but, can’t have everything.
* Covered bike parking, outside the N Entrance (by Dollar Tree) and inside the parking garage at the Barnes and Noble entrance.
* Close to everything east-side. I always avoid the Lloyd when biking (if possible) because of the absurdly long signal cycles. But when you’re actually going there, it feels close to everything.
* Nearby amenities — Safeway, highest density of sushi restaurants in PDX, Goodwill, major banks.

I look forward to seeing them expand into the garages to Multnomah. Maybe throw a few food carts into the mix to soften up other garagy entrances?

Ted Buehler

Mark Allyn
Guest

Can we please have the Frango’s chocolates back?

Kat
Guest
Kat

I wonder if the new Lloyd Superblock project going up kitty-corner to this has anything to do with the possible revitalization plans for the Multnomah St facade for the mall too.

I think the more new, shiny, well-planned developments that go up in this neighborhood, the drabber and uglier the existing development seems in comparison.

I know that the mall is going to want to appeal to all those potential shoppers who will be moving into the 700-odd apartments being built virtually across from it as we speak. I don’t know if the current state of the mall would appeal to them right now.

It definitely doesn’t appeal to me. It is rather outdated and depressing, which I guess makes me a bit of a shopping snob. The only reason I go there is for the DMV!

greg byshenk
Guest
greg byshenk

Ted Buehler
* Sears. Only hardware store in the inner NE. Can get 50% off on things like draperies and bedroom slippers.

I don’t disagree with most of the comment (and I’m not sure what counts as ‘inner NE’ — the map from the city says that ‘inner NE’ doesn’t include Lloyd Center), but the True Value on MLK at Shaver is pretty close by, and is definitely a hardware store.

All your NY Based
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All your NY Based

Alan 1.0
…hired a New York-based planning consultant…
Like there are none of those in Portland. I bet a few might even be hungry enough to take on a dirty job like that. Hey Cypress Equities, money you spend in Portland will get re-spent in your LCM clients’ businesses, coming back to your pockets. Not that I necessarily want that, mind you.
Recommended 2

You’re right, there are no NY base planning consultants in Portland.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

All the changes underway in the Lloyd District are very encouraging.

The Multnomah bikeway, the Hassalo On Eighth apartments, the other development coming to the area, the Lloyd Mall with a street-facing entry – plus the Broadway shops and restaurants, Safeway, Lloyd Athletic Club, LA Fitness and other facilities, MAX and Streetcar access – all wrapped around Holladay Park.

I think in 10 years this will be a transformed district, a vibrant destination by bike-transit-car, and a desirable place to live and work.

Today’s complaints about cars parking and leaves accumulating in the bike lane will be long forgotten, and the predictions of doom by grouchy bloggers who wish they lived in the 1960s will be proof of their small-minded irrelevance.

Ted Buehler
Guest

I recall, in Rick Gustafson’s Portland Traffic and Transportation Class, that the Lloyd Center Mall was deliberately built as close to downtown as possible so as to reduce suburban sprawl. There was a debate, maybe a fight, and it ended up close-in. Compare to the early big malls of other North American cities, and you see that the Lloyd Center isn’t really a black mark on Portland’s urban coolness, but really a feather in its cap.

It was also one of the “malls” in the US.

Also, it was originally open-air. Not quite sure how that factors in to the cool factor, or whether that was part of the programming to not overwhelm pre-existing shopping areas, but its an interesting point.

Lloyd Center turned 50 two years ago. Its old enough to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its not a johnny-come-lately to the Portland scene. Sure it ripped out a bunch of Victorian houses when it was built, but it is now as old as those houses were when they were demo’ed.

Granted, the its not real pretty to look at from the outside, makes a superblock that clogs up biking in the city, but it has a whole lot of attributes that we should be proud of, take ownership of, and take advantage of.

Now they’re entering the 21st century with a mall entrance that faces a park and a light rail stop, on a road-dieted street. Two thumbs up from Ted.

Maybe a giant covered bike parking area along Multnomah could be next. Humanize those parking structures.

Ted Buehler
Guest

— one of the first “shopping malls” in the US.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Agreed. The ironic thing is that for the past ten years, virtually no new malls have been built in America. Instead, many have closed and have been bulldozed to the ground. The trend has been open-air shopping plazas, like what you see in Bridgeport Village. Who would have guessed that people like to walk outside and get some sun and rain even in Oregon?

Jim
Guest
Jim

The security cameras in the parking garages do not even work. I heard this from a security guard talking to a woman who just had her car broken into. The camera bubbles are just for show.

Alan
Guest
Alan

Observe what’s now trendy in mall construction from what was built at the edge of the parking lots of a successful mall in one of Milwaukee’s streetcar suburbs:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=bayshore+town+center&hl=en&ll=43.118583,-87.914068&spn=0.005075,0.009077&sll=45.533285,-122.658607&sspn=0.0098,0.018153&t=h&gl=us&z=17&layer=c&cbll=43.118496,-87.914073&panoid=pj2GhxlhowjRtr-V_qsNEw&cbp=12,351.35,,0,-6.28

Not bad at all, to be honest. Still pretty sterile, but plenty of people like that, and it can be reached by walking without feeling transgressive.

steeplechase3kpdx
Guest
steeplechase3kpdx

An update of sorts:
The owners of the Mall have agreed to purchase the space the Nordstroms has (and apparently owns rather than leases).

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2014/02/lloyd_center_management_exciti.html