Another Foster commercial space goes on the market

Here it is, folks, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: an opportunity to spend $2.75 million on Foster-fronting commercial space. And by space, we mean 42,000 square-feet of it.

It’s not a blank slate. It’s not even historic or with some aesthetic appeal. Nor does it scream ‘potential.’ But if you like strip plazas, are keen on having 7-11 as a tenant/neighbor, and can stand to part with a few million bucks, we’ve got a property for you.

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Google Maps — 6144 SE Foster

According to LoopNet, 6144 SE Foster is for sale. And with a whopping $2.75 million price tag, you should come with some grand ideas. Or at least ideas that don’t involve bulk food-buying, mattresses, or a bankrupt movie rental business (RIP Blockbuster). Yes, Winly’s Cash & Carry, Sleep World and Blockbuster Video, have all made a home in this space over the last several years. None, obviously, have stuck around.

Here’s where you and your $2.75 million can make a difference.

Want some ideas?

Places to eat are typically well received in this neighborhood. So are alternatives to convenience stores and Fred Meyer. Foster could use a community bank. A nursery would be nice, too, since 7 Dee’s is closing nearby. A compact, three-lane bowling alley and bar? I’d even be happy to see a resurrection of New Copper Penny, fully intact with disco dance floor. The options are endless, really; it’s just the price tag that may be a hurdle.

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Renderings of a once-proposed renovation to 6144 SE Foster

We’re not sure what a potential sale means for the renovations that were planned for the  building, as we discussed in December. Nor do we know for certain if the whole building is for sale, or just the unoccupied portion (though, at 42,000 square-feet, we’ll presume it’s the entire building). It’s interesting to note, too, that the former Paldo Market space (according to Portland Maps) recently sold to a new owner. Combined, there’s a lot of Foster property exchanging hands. What becomes of them remains to be seen.

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

There’s word we’ll hit 70-degrees today. I’ll take it…even if it means we have to endure a wet and gray Saturday and Sunday (which we will). Have fun this weekend, y’all.

Here are your weekend tidbits…

– I guess the big news is that Off The Griddle will officially be open tomorrow. The highly anticipated addition of another place to dine and drink should make for a lot of happy people. And, most likely, our strip will get a little bit more vibrant as a result. Tomorrow’s grand opening will be celebrated with happy hour prices all day, as well as vegan jello shots, from 3 – 11 p.m.

– We wrote yesterday about the supposed development potential of the Mt. Scott Fuel site, as advertised in a real estate listing for a neighboring property. We have no reason to believe the soil and rock operation is going anywhere, but it’s an interesting thought. They certainly wouldn’t be our first choice for businesses to leave the area, but I suppose the potential for its 3.8 acres is real (or speculated).

– As pointed out by Next Portland’s weekly look at proposed developments across the city, early assistance has been requested for a project envisioned at 3612 SE 82nd. Currently a vacant building once occupied by the Farm House restaurant, plans for the lot call for a mix of indoor restaurant space (for up to nine tenants) and parking for food carts outside. More details will emerge soon, we’d think. But for now, this is a fun idea for a stretch of 82nd that could use some energy and investment.

– The Foster-Powell Community Garden has evolved a lot over the last four years, when it was just an idea hatched by a few neighbors who sought to transform an ODOT-owned lot which once housed a gas station at 62nd and Powell. Here we are now, and it’s a beautiful, fully functioning community garden with several garden plots, community gathering and event space, a water catchment system, and abundant color. After years of handwork, love and labor, the original and longtime hosts/organizers/care-takers of the lot, Vicki Wilson and John Larsen, are handing the garden over to new and willing hands as they embark on other ventures and pursuits. We wanted to take a moment to thank them for all they’ve done for the neighborhood—not just in creating a community garden, but by beautifying our environment (they’re also the ones behind the Foster Window Project), bringing people and energy together, and being great stewards of the 62nd/Powell site. You can read more (here) about the growth and changes in the garden, as well as Vicki and John’s transition.

We’re skipping the “weekend entertainment” this week. As far as we know, though, you can probably count on live music at Starday Tavern. But you shouldn’t stop there—check out all that Foster has to offer this weekend, from bars and restaurants to book stores, game stores, furniture and skating apparel, and art galleries.

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What a residential real estate listing may tell us about the future of Foster…

Perhaps we’re reading into things a bit here, but a recent neighborhood real estate listing seems to reveal what the future of Mt. Scott Fuel may be.

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5027 SE 70th – PortlandMaps

The property in question sits at the southeast corner of Mt. Scott Fuel, and, while currently inhabited by a 1,900 square-foot bungalow, it is being touted as a development opportunity. The house at 5027 SE 70th sits in the CG Zone, which allows for more dense development. But that is not the only reason this listing is being marketed as a “development opportunity.” The 5,000 square-foot lot is not huge, and as such would not leave much room for a large apartment building given current zoning. But the listing does point to the neighboring Mt. Scott Fuel as partial reason for the lot’s development potential. To expand, the listing on LoopNet suggests the vast soil and gravel operation next door has “massive commercial potential.” And while that’s true, and, yes, a developer could do a lot with 3.8 acres in the heart of a growing neighborhood business district, it’s interesting that there’s no public indication that Mt. Scott Fuel plans to abandon their operation.

So why use the Mt. Scott Fuel site as a lure for development?

We know real estate agents have their marketing schemes; ploys to over-hype their properties, if you will. And perhaps this is the case at 5027 SE 70th. But it’s not like plans have been announced to sell of the property. And there’s nothing tangible to point to like the Foster Streetscape Plan or the development of other nearby properties. It’s pure speculation.

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PDC map of FLIP framework. Mt. Scott Fuel is listed as a “catalyst site.”

But if we dig a little and revisit the Portland Development Commission’s former (5-year-old) vision—the Foster Lents Integration Partnership (FLIP)—to promote growth along the Foster corridor, we can actually see that the development of the Mt. Scott Fuel site is not a new idea. In fact, the PDC identified the Mt. Scott Fuel property as a “catalyst site” five years ago when the city was more active along the corridor. Much of the city’s resources have been focused on the development of the Lents Town Center, though, and it’s unclear how much FLIP still guides the city’s goals for the rest of the corridor.

So the question remains: does someone know something about the future of the Mt. Scott Fuel site? Or is this just a realtor’s marketing ploy?

We might conclude by also pointing out that the LoopNet listing suggests, too, that the property for sale could be used a dispensary if not developed into a mid-rise apartment complex. So there’s that.

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

We hear rumor of a possible flirting with 70-degree temperatures Sunday. We could probably end our Friday post with that and feel very positive about how we’re sending you off into the weekend. We do have a few bits of news and events, though, so we’re not cutting it short quite yet.

Here are your weekend tidbits…

– Off The Griddle has finally announced an opening date, and it appears as if Foster will have a new place to dine and drink in just over a week. The new vegan restaurant will be  opening April 22, and they’ll prove to be more than just a veggie burger joint. As per Eater PDX, the menu will feature their signature veggie burgers, yes, but also a host of vegan mac & cheeses, a vegan fried chicken sandwich, 10 beers on tap, and an 80’s/90’s themed cocktail list. I suppose it won’t be long before everyone forgets about Double Treble (though, we’ll assume many of you already have).

– The Foster-Powell Community Garden is hosting its annual plant sale and raffle this Sunday. From 9 a.m to 3 p.m., there will be a selection of plants for sale; a raffle; easter egg hunt for the kids; and a painting project to help add more flare to the garden space. If you have plants you’d like to donate, drop-offs will be taken Saturday, 9-3. The plant sale and raffle helps cover expenses for the garden and keeps it available to the community. Check it out (more info here).

– Portland Mercado turns two! What a difference they’ve made to Foster, with the vibrancy, culinary treats, community gatherings and cultural events, and the amenities the market provides for the neighborhood. The Mercado’s mark on the community cannot be denied, and their presence is absolutely one of the best things about our neighborhood. Celebrate with them Saturday, from 12 – 7 p.m. There will be food, drink, music, faceprinting, and lots and lots of revelry. Details here.

– We wrote earlier in the week about PBOT’s dilemma of getting the Foster Streetscape Plan rolling. Delays have become commonplace, and we posted about the latest one here. On a related note, the city just decreased the speed limit on a dangerous stretch of Hawthorne…perhaps that would be a nice temporary fix for Foster?

Here’s your weekend entertainment:
Starday Tavern- Texadrine w/Billy Kennedy (6 pm) and Joshua James & The Runaway Trains (9 pm), Friday; Urban Shaman (Ben’s B-day Party), Saturday at 9 pm
SMART Collective- WEEP WAVE//The Macks//Beatrix Sky//Airport, Friday from 6 to 9 pm
Portland Mercado- El Pueblo Unido: Portland Mercado 2 Year Anniversary, Saturday from noon to 7 pm
Flat Blak- This|Thusness, art showing by Adam Friedman, Saturday from 6 to 9 pm
FoPo Community Garden- Plant sale and raffle, Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm

Enjoy the weekend, all….

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Foster Streetscape timeline gets a new wrinkle

In a parallel universe, Foster Road is lined with street trees and ornamental lighting. Pedestrians don’t have to wait for car after to car to speed past them before a break provides a safe moment to cross; crosswalks would be lit, traffic would be slowed, and you would have fewer lanes to cross. Bike lanes would combine with the new pedestrian-friendly atmosphere to bring more and more people out of their cars and linger along the corridor instead of speeding by. Getting the kids to school in the morning is no longer a question of whether the rush-hour commuters will stop to allow safe passage.

foster-road-bannerstreetscapeAlas, that vision adopted by the city in 2014, which was more than a decade after a previous plan for Foster had been drafted and adopted, has yet to come to fruition. And, likely, there will be another year that lapses before any sign of activity on the project.

Welcome to “Foster Streetscape Delays Redux.”

We’ll spare you most of the details, but here’s the somewhat brief rundown on why we won’t see traffic and safety improvements to Foster until mid-2018 at the earliest:

As we shared in September when design/engineering was at 60%, PBOT still anticipated construction for the Foster Streetscape Plan to commence this spring. In other words, sometime between now and June. Fast forward to this last February, when that timeline shifted due to an influx of funding from the Fix Our Streets campaign, which allowed PBOT to incorporate a much-needed repaving of Foster (from SE 82nd to 90th) into the project. And as we explained a couple months ago, that wrinkle, albeit a positive development, forced planners to split the project into two: an eastern portion and a western. The eastern portion was designated to go first, which is what ultimately pushed the spring 2017 start date (for the west) to spring 2018.

All of the above (detailed more in February post) still holds true. Sort of. The repaving project in Lents initially sparked concerns that the use of federal funds for the project—I believe we have $3.25 million from the feds for the Foster Streetscape—would trigger a series of environmental requirements that would make the project less feasible. Most of those requirements centered on stormwater treatment, such as the need for bioswales, etc. The splitting of the projects, in effect, was somewhat of a run-around of those requirements, as the federal funds would have been parceled out to the western stretch, leaving the feds out of the eastern half of the project.

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PBOT rendering of planned cross-sections

As it turns out, though, the feds saw the splitting of the project as a “run-around” too, which prompted PBOT to bring the separate projects back into one. As such, there will still be some environmental requirements, and we’ll now see a few bioswales added to the design. Rich Newlands, project manager for PBOT, attended Monday’s Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association meeting to articulate all these changes. While many more details were offered to describe the process PBOT has gone through, the main changes that result are: design/engineering will be prolonged to reflect new stormwater treatment requirements, with said design/engineering expected to hit 100% in July; subsequent delay in when the project goes to bid, expected to be at the end of fall; construction would start no earlier than March 2018. The only change to the physical project will be the addition of bioswales—one is expected to be constructed at SE 51st, where a mixed-use project is planned for development at the former Busy Bee lot; across the street from that project by Diane’s; one more at SE 54th.

In regards to the updated timeline, Newlands did acknowledge that a March 2018 construction start does not necessarily mean we’ll see movement along the western stretch of Foster at that time. The actual timeline for construction phasing will be determined by the contractor who wins the bid for the project. It is unknown if both ends of Foster would be worked on simultaneously, or one before the other. Newlands offered, too, that re-engineering the timing of traffic lights at SE Holgate and SE 72nd will require a few months of lead time, which realistically means the western stretch of Foster wouldn’t see much activity during the first few months of construction.

All of this is to say that, yes, the Foster Streetscape Plan is still a go in the eyes of PBOT. The timeline has become a bit a wishy-washy, though, and the most realistic and earliest start to construction will be sometime around summer next year. Hopefully this will be the last time we have to provide an update before construction actually starts.

For those in the neighborhood who have been working to advocate for this project for 15+ years, we’d like to give you a shout-out. Ditto for those who have joined at some point along the way. Hopefully all the advocacy creates a safe and beautiful Foster.

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

Welcome to your Foster weekend, where a little bit of wet and gray does nothing to alter your chances for a bit of live music, a happy hour (or two), breakfast or dinner in the hood, an art walk, and/or some spring gardening. We may get some sun breaks—don’t hold your breath—so find a way to get out in the neighborhood.

Here are your weekend tidbits…

– The big happening this weekend is Second Saturday Foster Art Walk. It’s hard to believe we’re more than a year into the monthly art walk, and, at this point, we’ll assume it’s fully entrenched as “a thing.” We can confirm the following venues will have some form of art on display (and maybe some drinks and snacks) for April’s showing:
Darling Press Studio- Laminations: Lamentations and Luminations, new works by Andy Matia, 5 – 9 p.m.
Po Boy Art Gallery and Framing- Jim Mazza art opening w/DJ Joel Barber and more, 2 – 8 p.m.
Latchkey Gallery- Opening reception for Artis Jeff Chase, 4 – 8 p.m.
Flat Blak Gallery- One Night Stand: Portland artists Murphy Welch and Ethan Walsh exhibit, 5 – 8 p.m.
Wild at Heart Salon- The art of Annie Breedy
Backstory Books- Opening reception for the paintings of Christine Schulbach, 4 – 8 p.m.
NWIPA- Reception for Vicki Wilson’s ceramic sculptural installation, Growing Resistance, 6 – 10 p.m.

– Not sure how we missed this last month, but March marked the 10-year anniversary for Slingshot Lounge in the neighborhood. They obviously are doing it right over there—everything from the unpretentious but just-hip-enough vibe to the grimy bathroom graffiti; laid back booths and game room to the outdoor patio; and that chicken parm sandwich. Congrats, y’all. Keep doing what you do.

– Um, and a big shout out to Pieper Cafe, who is celebrating year number 5 this month! We heart you….

– And not to be forgotten, Portland Mercado will be celebrating their second anniversary this month, as well.

– Earlier this week we posted about some comings and goings in the neighborhood, including the departure of Raven Ink Tattoo and Green Noise Records, as well as the incoming Off The Griddle, the mixed-use development planned across from Portland Mercado, and a development on Powell that will bring a multi-story self-storage facility to the neighborhood.

– The backroom at Foster Burger is currently being renovated, and the once spill-over and meeting room space is, apparently, slated to become a bar. It’s unclear what the connection to Foster Burger will be, but we hear it’ll be more of a separate entity than an expansion of the current restaurant. We could also be totally wrong—more to come as we get a bit more clarification.

Here’s your weekend entertainment:
Starday Tavern- Buzz Holland Band Happy Hour w/Paula Sinclair (6 p.m.) and The Craftsmen (9 p.m.), Friday; The Soultone Band, Saturday at 9 p.m.

Enjoy the weekend, y’all…

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