Staying alive

Staying alive

Article Index

Condos, apartments

1112 StayingAlive 05
The resort boom went bust in Central Oregon, but it’s slowly waking up. R&H Construction has been working at Black Butte Ranch outside of Sisters, where it built the Glaze Meadow recreation center.Moribund. Almost dead. Not even on the radar. It should come as no surprise that this is how builders describe the state of the condominium market. Hugely overbuilt during the real-estate boom, the condo market from Portland to Bend and beyond has remained largely dormant for the past few years as prospective buyers, spooked by the new age of lending requirements, turned toward rentals.

“We are still not at a stage where condos make any sense,” says Gerard Mildner, director for PSU’s Center for Real Estate.

In their stead is a rising tide of in-fill apartment projects. No fewer than 500 units were expected to be added to downtown Portland by the middle of this year, with more on the way. A proposed “superblock” project in the Lloyd District could add almost 800 more apartments and 50,000 square feet of retail space in four towers, and Zidell Marine Corporation has announced plans to develop 30 waterfront acres near Portland’s Ross Island with potentially everything from residential units to a corporate campus.

Steve Galash, vice president for R&H Construction Co., says a condo scenario similar to Portland’s has played out in Bend.

“Condos were going nuts. A lot of developers just made their projects pencil by adding a condo component,” he says. “Then they all kind of fell together. The result has been that the apartment market here, like in other places, is starting to get more popular.”

In Portland, at least, there is already concern that the apartment market has gotten too popular and that it may be headed the way of the condo tower.

“The apartment market has been in a bit of a boom over the past year or two,” says Kurt Schultz, a principal with SERA Architects, which has designed several apartment complexes in Portland. “But there are some who think we’re already at the peak of the market.”