Home Back Issues May 2011 The decline of the tacky strip mall

The decline of the tacky strip mall

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Article Index
The decline of the tacky strip mall
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6

 

That’s what Gramor Development president Barry Cain is trying to do at his soon-to-be-completed Progress Ridge TownSquare in Beaverton, a $60 million investment. Cain has been developing retail centers in Oregon and Southwest Washington for 26 years, with more than 60 centers in the Gramor portfolio. As tastes have changed he has shifted from big-box malls to compact, walkable centers such as Lakeview Village in Lake Oswego. His latest Fred Meyer, due to open in Wilsonville in July, features landscaped sidewalks, fountains and an amphitheater.

0511_StripMall_Graph02At Progress Ridge, construction workers from R&O Construction are busily sculpting a 110-acre former rock quarry into a modern version of the age-old town square, with outdoor fountains and eating areas, a 24-hour coffee shop, a local hardware store instead of a Home Depot, an outdoor fireplace, a pond with a floating dock, a row of small service businesses next door to the outdoor seating in front of the cinema, all overlooking a wine-tasting garden with a planted vineyard. The center, due to open by September, has three anchor tenants, and not one is a national chain. Instead Cain has signed on New Seasons Market of Portland, Big Al’s Family Entertainment Center of Vancouver, Wash. and Cinetopia Theaters, also of Vancouver.

Cain estimates that the new center will employ more than 800 people. It is the largest retail project in Oregon since the recession hit and the most complex project Gramor has done.

It took persistence to put the project together. Between the struggles to gain approval from city planners to move Southwest Barrows Road to the other side of a creek and to get financing, the project has taken nearly a decade to pull off. Cain jokes that the process dragged on for so many years that “we almost had to change the name. Progress Ridge wasn’t really working any more.”

Now that he has received a $45 million loan from U.S. Bank and has the area 75% leased, Cain is visibly relieved. He points out amenity after amenity as he works his way from the pond with the floating dock to the picnic area outside of New Seasons and up the stairs to the living room theaters of Cinematopia, which will contain in-theater bathrooms with their own screens, enabling moviegoers to use the facilities without missing a line of dialogue.

“The more we do these things, the more we want to make places where people want to be,” Cain says. “You spend 10 years building a project, you’re not just blowing and going. You want to build something that will last.”

Progress Ridge is likely to be a hit with the people who have bought homes in the dense surrounding neighborhoods. It will also pull a certain amount of traffic away from the older strips that are suffering, potentially adding new pieces to the museum of failure. As with other examples of the latest trends, it does little to solve the puzzle of what to do with the areas that have missed the trends. But Cain predicts even the most challenging areas will transform over time. He has met with the planners trying to revitalize McLoughlin and he says he sees potential there, calling it “the most undervalued stretch of property in the region.” He can envision a completely different strip there. “You need people living there and you need cool things to make them want to be there. Give it 15 years.”

 



 

Comments   

 
Kevin Matthews - ArchitectureWeek
0 #1 Like West 11th in Eugene...Kevin Matthews - ArchitectureWeek 2011-04-27 12:53:38
The strip-convenien ce leapfrog scenario seems to describe West 11th Avenue in Eugene, along with the areas mentioned in the article.

Community leaders of Eugene from all around the political spectrum met in a consensus format from 2007 through 2009 and produced a shared vision for how to actively redevelop that two-mile strip into a new walkable main street for West Eugene:

http://www.eugeneneighbors.org/wiki/West_Eugene_Collaborative
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Launch

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

September's Launch article features Orchid Health, BuddyUp and Inter-Europe Consulting.


Read more...

The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon 2014

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
14BY KIM MOORE

Proud, diverse and underpaid.

Pride in their organizations’ mission, fairness in the treatment of women and ethnic minorities, flexible work schedules — these are just a handful of workplace characteristics that employees of this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits appreciate about their organizations.


Read more...

A Good Leap Forward

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Agriculture businesses ramp up to meet international demand as workforce and succession challenges loom.


Read more...

Powerlist: Law Firms

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with leading partners at law firms in Portland and eastern Oregon, followed by October's powerlist.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


Read more...

Downtime

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS