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|Friday, May 11, 2012|
BY LINDA BAKER
Last fall I wrote a short piece about suburban housing developers moving into the inner city after the housing collapse and building high density infill houses instead of single-family subdivisions. I ended the story with a quote from Eli Spevak, a Portland developer who had been building such small-scale community projects for a number of years. Responding to my question about big-box developers encroaching on local territory, Spevak said their presence does re-enact a bit of the “local coffee shop vs. national coffee shop” dynamic. But as a proponent of high-density, low-impact living, he didn't want to complain. “I wish there were more,” he said.
I caught up with Spevak again yesterday, the day after he signed a $4.4 million construction loan from Pacific Continental Bank, the lender’s first new for-sale project since early 2007, according to Charlotte Boxer, Pacific Continental's president and director of commercial real estate. The loan will help finance Spevak’s latest project, Cully Grove, a 16-unit co-housing development in Northeast Portland. So far 15 units have pre-sold, no easy task in a city where there are virtually no new, for-sale multifamily developments.
Spevak attributes his ability to pre-sell the project to interest in cooperative living and “a great group of buyers,” about half of which are empty nesters and half families with children. The development consists of three 1,800-square-foot detached homes, which sold for about $420,000-$450,000. The remaining units are 1,500-square-foot duplexes and triplexes, which sold for about $320,000-$370,000.
The two-acre lot, which Spevak and his partner Zach Parrish purchased for $800,000, will also include community gardens, courtyards, an outdoor kitchen and small common house.
Spevak, who will break ground on Cully Grove this weekend, pointed to evidence that other alternative housing types are on the rise in Portland.
More specifically, the city is experiencing a boom in accessory dwelling units: self-contained homes built on the same lot as a single-family home. According to city of Portland data, these “ADUs” typically account for about 1 percent of new residential units. That figure increased to about 6 percent in 2010. The city expects to issue about 100 ADU permits this fiscal year, up from 70 last year.
Of course, the city’s decision in 2010 to waive system development charges for ADUs may have something to do with the increase. Those charges typically amount to $8,000-$12,000, making most people say “forget about it,” said Spevak, who lobbied for the waiver. The city also voted to increase the ADU size limits from one third to three quarters of the size of the main house.
In the years since the crash, anxious homeowners and homebuilders have wondered when the housing market will come back. But perhaps a more pertinent question is what form it will take when it does. Collectively, the success of Cully Grove, the increase in ADUs, the shift in city policy and yes, the decision on the part of big box developers to retool their projects for the inner city, all suggests that at least for a segment of the population, the future of housing is dense, flexible and more than a little neighborly.
Linda Baker is managing editor of Oregon Business.
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.
Monday, July 07, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Oregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.
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