Home The Latest South Waterfront finally comes to life

South Waterfront finally comes to life

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Monday, August 23, 2010

By Jessica Hoch

The ribbon-cutting of Elizabeth Caruthers Park last Thursday sent a strong signal that the idealized South Waterfront District isn’t completely lost to a stalled economy. Quite the contrary, it looks as though the neighbors are finally moving in, and so is business.


Webbabies_in_fountainScores of families, dogs and residents joined in on the official opening of the grassy park, an event complete with free gelato and Italian soda.  Muffled by the music of the jazz band was even a faint sound of progress, a drill pounding the pavement for a new dentist's office.  During the ceremony City of Portland Commissioner Nick Fish promised the future of South Waterfront was finally here.

Residents have long waited for the park to lose the fence and open to the public. It was promised years ago before the housing crisis in 2007 left brand-new condominiums such as the Atwater Place vacant and waiting to be auctioned off for fractions of the original asking prices.  Promised to be the next Pearl District, the new neighborhood was practically empty.

But the numbers are starting to look positive.  The Atwater Place is selling about a unit a week and is well over half full. Vacancies in the John Ross are almost down to single digits and the Mirabella is largely pre-sold and set to open August 31st.  The Ardea and Riva on the Park rental properties are 72% and 85% occupied respectively.

The long-delayed affordable housing unit, The Tamarack, will finally break ground in the fall to build a five-story building and 209 units, which will bring some diversity to the community.

Benjamin Silver is a resident in the Atwater Place. He moved to the district in December because he felt it offered so much more value for the price compared to the Pearl and other parts of Portland.

“When we moved in it was quiet, but we fell in love with the area and with the park now open, it is true what they say, build it and they will come,” said Silver.  “The day it opened there were children jumping in the fountain, and people biking and playing with their dogs.”

Like many residents, Silver would love to see a lot more retail, especially a grocery store.  So far a few eateries, doggy daycare, a bank and a grocery mart dot empty window fronts. 

“When you get a grocery store you know the neighborhood has finally arrived,” said Kathleen Mazzocco of Clear PR, who represents the Atwater. “It took the Pearl 10 years to get a grocery store and with a population of 1,500 we need a bit more, but we are happy with the growth.”

The growth looks like it should continue over the next couple of years as projects are added to the pipeline.  The neighborhood will open three children’s learning centers in the fall, including a day care at OHSU and a charter school.  The community garden is up to 80 plots. A government agency is planning to add 74,000 square feet to house the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit.  The 700-foot Gibbs Street pedestrian bridge passing over I-5, adjacent to the aerial tram, will connect Lair Hill to the South Waterfront and will begin construction this winter.

Access remains an issue. The streetcar runs through, but there isn’t a MAX line.  Some residents say they prefer the isolation since it keeps things a little more quiet than the bustle of other districts.  That could change if the proposed plans for a streetcar line to Lake Oswego through Moody Street gets more serious, but that is still years away.

For now though, signs of progress on the waterfront and the beautiful new park serve as effective distractions from the empty construction sites still waiting for the shovel.

Jessica Hoch is an online reporter for Oregon Business.

 

Comments   

 
EastPDXResident
0 #1 Waiting for the fence to come downEastPDXResident 2010-08-23 11:22:57
Residents of East Portland have been waiting 15 or 20 years for several parks "to lose the fence and open to the public" -- and we are STILL WAITING!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Stuck in EP Limbo
0 #2 ...and waiting, and waiting, and waiting...Stuck in EP Limbo 2010-08-23 12:02:10
It's a sad and uncomfortable fact that when we ask our representatives WHY population-heav y East Portland has been overlooked for appropriate financing of basic improvements and upgrades, they can only respond with "why aren't those residents voting?"

Make your voices heard, EPDXers! Be the squeek that your elected officials will respond to!
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Beyond cheese

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Tillamook expands its tourism niche.


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

When the employee is the customer

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

In 2013, Gallup published a poll showing that 70% of U.S. employees were “disengaged” in their jobs, costing companies $450-$550 billion a year in poor performance.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

Blips and trends in the housing market

News
Thursday, June 26, 2014
062614 thumb realestateBY ERIC FRUTS | OB BLOGGER

Last year, the housing market in Oregon—and the U.S. as a whole—was blasting off. The Case-Shiller index of home prices ended the year 13% higher than at the beginning of the year. But, was last year a blip, or a trend?


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