The Bob, reborn?

Leave it to an old, rusty and defunct theater to make my heart flutter, cause confusion, and give me a terribly familiar headache.

Thanks to the Twitter-verse, we were alerted to the fact that the Bob White Theater is for lease. Cue shortness of breath. Then cue ensuing, “nah, we’ve been fooled one too many times.” We just couldn’t dismiss it, though. So we checked it out for ourselves.

IMG_7534Indeed, there is space (indoors and outdoors) for lease at “The Bob.”

That’s the good news.

The bad news: the space available for lease is not the theater. In other words, the theater is still being used for lord-knows-what. Probably car storage. Rather, the unused lobby is for lease, as is the alleyway space outside.

It’s not the grand return to glory that we envisioned for the theater. But it’s a start.

In case you’re looking for ideas, here’s what the Twitter-verse had to say on the matter:

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At this point, anything works for us. Mostly. I’ll just add….we could really go for a place to get some ice cream right about now.

But what could the space actually accommodate? The lobby fronts Foster and would make neighbors out of Bar Carlo. That’s the selling point. So, too, is the cheap rent–we hear it’s going for $450/month. The drawback: you’re only getting 150-200 square feet of space.

The adjoining alley is where the potential magic is, though. Also going for a reasonable $450/month, it’s being marketed as a space for a food cart(s). Assuming a seating area, this could make good use of the space and make for a funky addition to the strip.

No theater. But for now, the Bob White story remains slightly alive.

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

Well, I suppose at this point we’re just going to skip spring altogether and jump right into summer. The next 10 days call for a range of mid-70s to upper-80s. And one day in the 90s. Ahhhgeeyaah!

Here are your weekend tidbits…

– With the weather taking a decidedly positive turn, we thought we’d remind you that outdoor dining and drinking options abound on Foster. Here’s a quick rundown: Speedboat Coffee, Carts on Foster and Pod Bar, Devil’s Point, Foster Burger, An Xuyen, Slingshot, FoPo Tavern, Nayar Taqueria, Bar Maven, NWIPA, Bar Carlo, Pieper Cafe, Starday Tavern, Da Hui, Off The Griddle, O’Malley’s, Portland Mercado and….wait for it…Foster Gardens.

– Also, don’t forget, Bar Maven is doing brunch on the weekends. Get on some of that…

– And while we’re talking food, Bar Carlo has new menus. We especially dig the ‘soup and grilled cheese’ addition to the happy hour menu.

– There are now three large-scale mixed-use projects planned for Foster in the near term. We discussed the latest plans for the project at the west end of Foster, just next to Speedboat Coffee, earlier in the week. Times are a changing…

– Here’s your weekend entertainment:
Starday Tavern- Buzz Holland Band w/Paula Sinclair (6 pm) and The Amber Harlan Trio-It’s the Right Time (9 pm), Friday; Long Knife Record Release Party, Saturday at 10 pm
Day TheaterPortland Radio Project Pop-up Music Fest, Sunday 3 – 7 pm
Barrio- Live Music w/Coronation, Sunday at 2 pm

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Foster Road to get its “gateway” in new mixed-use project

Within a year’s time, Foster Road very well could see the construction of its long-anticipated Streetscape Project, as well as the addition of three, four-story mixed-use projects that’ll add a combined 188 units of housing to the corridor between SE 50th and SE 72nd.

It wasn’t long ago that a new bar or coffee shop was big news. Now large-scale projects may be the flavor du jour. Over the last couple weeks, we’ve shared updates on two such projects—72Foster, across the street from Portland Mercado, and the YMCA rebuild, which will include housing as part of the development.

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Busy Bee Cleaners had an unceremonious ending, and, perhaps, somewhat ominous demise

Now, a third comes into focus: a Foster housing and retail project that’ll combine for a four-story development on the lot once occupied Busy Bee Cleaners. And while Busy Bee once joined forces with the Burger King across the street to inform drivers of what kind of neighborhood Foster would guide them through, a new landmark will now indicate what and where the neighborhood is heading. According to the architects of the project, Scott / Edwards Architecture, the mixed-use building will serve as “gateway to this rapidly growing neighborhood.”

As proposed, the development will include 33 units of housing above ground-floor retail space. While this does not sound like a large project—the 72nd and Foster will have 101 units, they YMCA adds 54—the location and design may be the more significant components. If there was a location in the neighborhood that more emphasized Foster’s mostly car-centric past, we’d be shocked. This stretch of Foster breaks off of SE Powell, a state highway, and is quickly received by a fast food restaurant with large parking lot and drive-through; the post office has a sorting center here; Speedboat Coffee once catered to the hoards of driversby with a drive-up window (before a dispute with a neighboring business); and the two-block triangle is bordered in by SE 52nd, which is perpetually backed up.

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Foster’s changing landscape, as rendered by Scott/Edwards Architecture.

Now, there will be something that says, “People live here.” And it’ll look nice, too. Say what you want about the prototypical Portland mixed-use project—four floors, retail space on bottom, and a fancy but uninspiring and generic facade—but there’s something to be said about a diversity of architectural styles. And this project will add diversity to the corridor, if not a “gateway” that the architects intend. It will also part with the neighborhood’s car-centric past, too, by minimizing parking to 16 spots. This may scare some, but it does well to take advantage of major bus lines and bikeways that run near that intersection.

How the changes impact the overall character of the neighborhood will remain to be seen (though, some can safely speculate). But at the very least, Foster is starting to put a small dent in the city’s housing crisis.

RIP Busy Bee. RIP Old Foster.

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

Somehow, someway, we’re back to rain and 50-degree temperatures. Not sure how this happened; last week was so promising. Don’t let the weather keep you home, though. Foster has art, happy hours, and music aplenty this weekend. Oh, and happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there—we appreciate all that you do….always (143)!

Here are your weekend tidbits…

– Just barely outside the neighborhood bounds, a vegan and artisanal, hand-crafted doughnut shop has made an unlikely neighbor of 7-11, a check-cashing spot, a dispensary, and a fetish-lingerie store at SE 82nd and Powell. Your baker’s dozen may cost you a pretty penny, but the goods is tasty. Welcome to the neighborhood, Doe Donuts.

– It appears that the race for the neighborhood’s first large-scale mixed-use development will be won at the corner of SE 72nd and Foster, just across the street from Portland Mercado. As we mentioned yesterday, the project has been submitted for permitting and review. And if all goes according to plan, construction of 72Foster will begin in August. Sometime after that, we expect to see movement on the rebuild and mixed-use development of the YMCA site at 6036 SE Foster, as well as the four-story apartment and retail building that will occupy the former Busy Bee Cleaners lot at 51st and Foster.

– The commercial strip along Foster at SE 69th continues to evolve. Not long after Futpool Portland opened shop, it appears SMART Collective, the skateboard / apparel shop and all-ages music venue, will be moving from its current location mid-summer (their Facebook page says by July 1). We won’t get too sad just yet, as we’re crossing our fingers they stick around in the neighborhood.

– Second Saturday Foster Art Walk is this weekend. Make it happen, folks. Here’s the lineup (as we know it…you may have to dig a little bit for more details and/or other venues):
Po’ Boy Art and Framing- Brad Klausen art opening, 2-8 pm; several artists and vendors; DJ Joel Bender; beer and snacks
Latchkey Gallery- Jocelyn Barrett pop-up show, 4-8 pm
Flat Blak- May Day / Organized Chaos, 6-9 pm; works by Yannick Hamon and Jack Graydon
Backstory Books- Spontaneous / Methodical, art by Rachel Mulder, 4-8 pm
NWIPA- Earth and Sky, photography by Helen Croy, 5-11 pm

– And here’s some other entertainment for your weekend pleasure:
SMART Collective- Divers/Paper Thin/Longclaw/Puppy Breath benefit show for undocumented families, 7-10 pm, Friday; Jenny Vu SMART Collective board release party, Sunday at 3 pm
Starday Tavern- Texadrine w/Billy Kennedy (6 pm) and Reverse Cowboy (9 pm), Friday; Radio Phoenix, Saturday at 9 pm

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72Foster Cometh

As follow-up to our post earlier this week, in which we mentioned the status of two mixed-use developments planned for the neighborhood, we thought we’d update the timeline for one of those two projects.

As per REACH Community Development, the developer behind the project at 72nd and Foster, permits have been submitted and are under review. Those permits are anticipated to be received by the City in June or July, with construction to begin in August.

The scope of the project remains relatively unchanged from earlier proposals: the four-story building will have 101 units of affordable housing; 8,300 square-feet of commercial space; 35 parking spots; a landscaped courtyard.

Here’s a project description from REACH:
     “Vibrant communities are at risk when high rents fracture community bonds. In an effort to keep diverse communities together, 72Foster is a new mixed-use housing community located in Southeast Portland.
     “The building will have 101 residential units and 8,300 SF of ground floor retail space. Designed as an intergenerational, mixed-use building, REACH will partner with Asian Health & Services Center (AHSC) to address the un-met housing needs of low-income households within the most concentrated Asian American population in Oregon. AHSC will also provide resident services for this property.”

And a few rendering from the architect, Holst Architecture:

NE-Corner

72Foster, NE corner — Holst Architecture

NW-Corner

72Foster, NW corner — Holst Architecture

Courtyard-Night

72Foster, inner courtyard — Holst Architecture

It’s notable that the Foster corridor will be getting a much needed influx of housing. And, too, the addition of 101 affordable units will help stem some of the demographic shift the neighborhood is currently experiencing. To achieve this with good design and a mix of uses should be a benefit to the neighborhood and Foster corridor.

For those interested, there will be a final community meeting hosted by the developer and architect before project construction. We’ll share details when we get them.

 

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News and happenings…

Let’s review some of the goings-on in the neighborhood after a week-long lull:

– We’ve got gyros, y’all! Ok, the neighborhood is not technically new to gyros—we have Gyro House on SE 82nd, and El Sultan food cart once made an attempt at blending their Mexican fare with the Mediterranean favorite. But a dedicated storefront to gyros, shawarma, kebob, falafel, and other middle eastern fare? Fuhgettaboutit! Welcome to the neighborhood, Ishtar Gate! The mostly-take-out restaurant now occupies the former Tacos Chavez space at 5222 SE Foster.

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 7.43.55 PM.png– As we shared recently, Raven Ink Tattoo is no longer operating in the space next to Da Hui. And, in fact, the building, which also includes the tailor shop next door, is for sale. And while we’ve seen million-dollar properties hit the market recently on Foster, this space may be a little more affordable for those looking to set up shop in the neighborhood. According to the real estate listing, the property at 6514 SE Foster is on the market for $429,000. Less than half a million for prime space in the “Heart of Foster?” Not too shabby. The question is: who’s gonna get it first….

– In other real estate news, the proposal to redevelop the YMCA property at 6036 SE Foster has been approved (with conditions) by the city’s Bureau of Development Services. We’re not sure what the next steps are, but it would appear Foster is one step closer to seeing much needed housing built along the corridor. And for those that haven’t been following, here’s our most recent post on the project.

a2005-001-199-se-foster-rd-at-72nd-south-1937

City of Portland Archives — Here’s what the once vacant lot used to look like at 72nd and Foster (from Firland Parkway–Maple Leaf would be to the right)

– And a little further east on Foster, another large-scale development is under permit review. The 72F project is inching closer to fruition, and the neighborhood will net 101 affordable housing units and 10,000 square-feet of retail space as a result. This should round out the transformation of SE 72nd and Foster, kissing goodbye to the last remnants of the former Metro Auto Wholesale operation and vacant lots that tarnished the history of this intersection. (For shits and giggles, here’s the lone Yelp review of Metro Auto Wholesale.)

– And finally, Second Saturday Foster Art Walk is this weekend. We’ll have a follow-up post on this later in the week, but you should probably just go ahead and include the art walk in your Saturday plans. If the weather’s good, even better. This is a fun way to stop in to some art galleries that open specifically for this event; support neighborhood businesses; and show some love for the Foster arts scene.

 

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