(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
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.
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.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.
But will they bring back Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour?
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.
You are correct – there is no sidewalk. There is a tiny sidewalk “strip” I guess you could call it – but cars park right flush up against it with their huge bumpers protruding into it, rendering it utterly useless and impassable as a walkway.
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.
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.
Yeah, it’s a monstrosity, and what’s worse is they did a major remodel in the early ’90s, but there was virtually no improvement to the exterior pedestrian environment. Here’s hoping they do it right.
As with the downtown Macy’s, the design says very clearly, “We don’t want transit users here.”
Demolish the mall, and replace it with condo and apartment towers with ground-floor retail.
The most depressing thing about Lloyd Center, is thinking about all of the STUNNING Irvington Queen Anne style 19th & early 20th Century gingerbread houses and mansions that were demolished for it. It makes me want to cry.
Louis Armstrong played the Lloyd Center grand opening, after they demolished a black neighborhood to build it. Bizarro.
True. As much as I am in support of these changes, they really fall into the “lipstick on a pig” category. The best thing that could be done to Lloyd Center is to raze it and reestablish the street grid and a proper mixed use neighborhood.
Unfortunately those houses would have been out the price range for most people now or you’d be taxed right out of it.
Portland rule #1: For anything BoJack says, the opposite is true.
The guy IS a total maroon.
Would be awesome if they could figure out how to make 11th go through, maybe as a bike/ped only connection.
I would love this! If I’m visualizing it correctly, it would go right through the ice rink. Time for major change, though. I’ve lived just north of Lloyd Center for 25 years, and getting to just south of it by bike is an exercise in “roundaboutation”.
I’m for going OVER!!!!! They could put in a “rolling bikeway” like walkways at the airport for the up hill side …..
I like it. Maybe even go over Multnomah with a ramp gently descending into Holladay Park …
A route through would be great. One of the main reasons I don’t use NE Multnomah more is because I have to go out of my way to navigate around Lloyd Center and its massive parking lots.
At one time, it possibly (or even probably?) did. Lloyd Center used to be an open mall! It was only enclosed later. So, for a while, it was more like an ourdoor arcade. It had outdoor fountains and rose bushes and everything. Worth checking out photos on it – it will blow your mind!
“[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.
i don’t know how many times i’ve seen someone ride in the buffered bike lane and then take the vehicle lane rather than use the protected bike lane. protected facilities should not be less convenient than riding in an unprotected lane.
I live on Multnomah at MLK. I can tell you from riding the new cycletrack daily since it was installed, it is a disaster. Well intentioned I don’t doubt, but a total disaster in layout and implementation.
On Saturday evenings, there will be 30 vehicles parked IN THE CYCELTRACK outside the very spot this article talks about. Not in the car parking spaces clearly marked, but IN THE CYCLETRACK.
What happens is – one happless driver from Gresham or whatever parks in the cycle track, the all the other drivers see the first driver parked there, and just assume that’s where you’re supposed to park. It doesn’t help that at night, it’s hard to see the painted lines.
It needs physical separation, not paint.
I’m pretty sure this will put me back on moderated status for my comments, but there is a sure-fire cure for cars parked in the bike lane, and it’s cheap, too: http://www.harborfreight.com/4-lb-engineers-hammer-with-hickory-handle-69240.html
Then I shouldn’t include the links the portable speed bumps and DOT grade epoxy.
I mean, if it works on plastic candlestick bollards then it’d work on tires.
Sigh…yeah all we need. I’d rather not get lumped in with people who vandalize other people’s property. I’ve got enough problems out there on two wheels.
Put it in your speed dial :
– Parking Enforcement: 503.823.5195
– Police non-emergency # (for evening hours):503.823.3333
It’s an $80 ticket, which should help to discourage this activity.
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?
That is without fail, the most depressing access point to the mall. It feels totally sneezy walking through the poorly lit car park, to the underwhelming Macy’s entrance.
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…
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.
I lived in a city which had a light rail stop right in the middle of the mall, and which had a grocery store opening onto the rail platform, about 3 stops up from mine. It was super convenient.
The floors should be glass – so you could see the trains moving below you. Woah!
I’ve seen too many people get unnerved by transparent floors.
Specifically what I’m envisioning is a transit stop version of French or Italian street cafes but instead of a road there is a MAX stop. I want it open to the sky as much as possible with natural light. I’m envisioning a 2 story mall with a vaulted greenhouse glass roof reaching in to a 3rd floor height. Fresh air would naturally come in at both ends of the rail entry areas; during cooler or warmer times this could be mitigated with the forced “air door” curtains at the LRT. One could imagine wanting solid doors during more severe weather but I can’t imagine how that could get approved by rail safety engineers.
Bridges for the 2nd floor over station could be installed on the understanding that they should shade no more than 20%-25% of the food court seating under noonday sunlight.
The train rails would be in the surface as much as possible so it resembles the crosswalks and ADA compliant crossings but for the entire length. For the sake of safety I can agree that the “station proper” should be surrounded by diversionary hand rails; like a subtle and fashionable version of the zigzag pedestrian crossings on the yellow line and east blue line. I want the entire area to feel contiguous but reduce the odds of small children and the distracted to walking under a moving train.
The food court would be at track level as would some smaller shops. These retail spaces would be premium priced.
Larger anchor stores would be set back within the larger indoor structure.
At the middle of the stop, heading out perpendicularly in both directions would be a mandatory public access area that is open 24/7. It could have doors like any other mall but they would need to be accessible at all times for transit users. This would essentially bisect the food court area in to quarters but this is actually advantageous to foot traffic flow and allows more disparate social gathering without forcing everyone in to one congested clump.
Because the area is publicly accessible at all times the station adjacent stores and restaurants would need to be secured like any other outdoor commercial establishment. This is easier for the retail. If the decision is made by restaurateurs to leave furniture in place the mall could install some of those large sectional folding walls that are often seen in office settings to partition large conference rooms in to smaller rooms. Traditional roll up metal doors or heavy metal link doors could installed instead as long as they do not detract from the decor and customer experience by making people feel as if they are in a war zone.
Sorry, my father and I wrangled subcontractors when we built our house while I was in high school. You either hate it or you get the general contractor bug.
Make THAT space the ice skating rink.
…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.
At first I instinctively agreed with you. Then I though about the “Shops at Columbus Circle” which is part of the “Time Warner Center…. If they hired the consultants / architects who developed that, it would be a good thing. https://plus.google.com/u/0/107310630794059811478/posts/Af3mS9KYV91
Sorry pasted the wrong link… this should do it.
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.
What, you don’t like the carpet and all the weird chairs/seating they sprinkled throughout the mall a few years ago?
I actually do like the chairs! I think hanging out at the Lloyd Center mall is pretty fun. I’ve been trying to advocate for this being something like hanging out in a European square for quality of people watching. Different ambiance (and no good when Christmas music is going), but pretty fun on a day with crappy weather. And if it could be more outward facing and steal some restaurants from SE Division, that would be lovely.
“Influential local blogger Jack Bogdanski…”
I snorted coffee out my nose when I got to this line.
Can’t blame you, but I’ve talked to enough powerful people who follow(ed) his work to be comfortable writing it.
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?
I totally agree on diversity of shoppers, Ted! I appreciated this on a holiday visit and was trying to puzzle out the reasons.
Sure. But the same things you like about Lloyd Center could be said for any number of Portland neighborhoods that aren’t malls. Alberta, 23rd, The Pearl, etc. I don’t think the Lloyd Center was worth destroying a neighborhood. But since it’s there, I’m glad they’re trying to make it more relevant to a rapidly changing, mixed-use neighborhood.
“But the same things you like about Lloyd Center could be said for any number of Portland neighborhoods that aren’t malls. Alberta, 23rd, The Pearl, etc.”
Huh? Alberta is hipster with a few African Americans that haven’t been gentrified out to Gresham yet. 23rd is tourists with a few hipsters mixed in. Pearl is yuppiville USA.
None of them have anything resembling what the Lloyd Center offers. Lots of basic shopping opportunities. Enormous diversity of enthicities, ages, family types, income levels. All Portlands. All bustling around together.
& the indoor experience of Lloyd is also unique — on a pissy November day you can wander around and dry out a bit, warm up a bit. Other Portland shopping areas all have cramped interior spaces so you can’t really unfurl and relax (if you’re shopping by bike and are carrying a backpack, jacket, gloves, lights, etc).
BTW, I HATE malls. I’ve hated malls ever since I was old enough to know there was something better. I usually only darken the door of suburban shopping malls once a year, or less. I generally have zero business in malls. I shop at Goodwill, Salvation Army, hardware stores, & for the stuff I can’t get there, I go to Fred Meyer. But the Lloyd Center is fairly different from suburban malls, and its within easy walking distance/biking distance of anywhere I’m likely to be in Portland.
“Covered bike parking, outside the N Entrance (by Dollar Tree) and inside the parking garage at the Barnes and Noble entrance.”
I had no idea!
Aye, the food really kills it for me in there. So does the strange assortment of shops, which I don’t really frequent very often. As does poor bicycle parking, and access from the street. But I do go there when I have to – it beats driving out to the burbs and getting stuck in TRAFFIC!
Can we please have the Frango’s chocolates back?
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!
It absolutely does – there is a lot of change headed towards the area, and the owners want to capitalize on the growth. People who live a 1/2 block away are not going to be driving to your business!
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.
Sears is on the retail death watch; they seem content to duplicate JCPenny’s mistakes while adding in their own.
Most notably hardware: the Craftsman brand has gutted their lifetime warranties (go see how Sears corporate defines “lifetime” now), sacrificed the quality while maintaining or even increasing tool prices over what they charged for older value. Pros don’t buy Craftsman tools any more.
They’ve done nearly the same with the Kenmore appliance lines.
Sears never marketed as a cloths seller like other traditional mall anchor stores seeming content to coast in to the 21st century with their 19th century market position.
I want to evangelize upon Sears Craftsman and Kenmore products but shareholders have gutted all value from the company for short term profit. Without a major reorg and soul searching Sears could easily evaporate in 2 years. So sad for such a great old store but thems the breaks when they bury their heads in the sand.
Yeah, well, same thing has happened to all the other once-great brands, too, hasn’t it? It’s a race to beat out Black and Decker at the bottom.
& Sears has been on retail “death watch” since 2008. All the other 2008-era death watch chain stores have bitten the dust. Circuit City, Borders, etc. Sears soldiers on. Might bite it, might not, but in the meantime its one of the more wholesome department stores out there for the modern Portlander.
greg — well, the only hardware store in that part of town, whatever its called. Sure you have Hankins on Shaver and MLK, Winks on 3rd and Stark, A-Boy on 42nd and Sandy, Harbor Freight on Interstate and Mason, Woodcrafters on 7th and Davis, Hippo on 11th and Burnside, & a whole boatload of specialty hardware stores in the inner SE, but Sears definitely sits tall and proud in what would otherwise be a hardware store desert. Little known fact, Sears is a hardware store. Just trying to help them, and us, out, by noting this.
Well, I take that back. Inner SE has the best array of hardware stores I’ve ever seen. Hardly a desert, more of a cornucopia. I frequently get referred to yet another specialty shop down there, that gets me exactly what I need. Many are ma and pa businesses that have been around for eons, and are still serving their markets, and hopefully won’t get gentrified out anytime soon.
For instance, if you don’t like the Craftsman warranty, you want to go to Charles Day on SE 11th and Washington.
But still, Sears is a good hardware store, and living in the NE I can do to Sears without having to get across I-84 to go to the inner SE district.
And my point was that even inner NE has Hankins on MLK, which is a ten-minute bike trip from Lloyd Center. I think that, unless you are already at LC, it will be quicker and easier to get hardware elsewhere.
You’re right, there are no NY base planning consultants in Portland.
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.
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.
— one of the first “shopping malls” in the US.
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?
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.
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:
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.
An update of sorts:
The owners of the Mall have agreed to purchase the space the Nordstroms has (and apparently owns rather than leases).