There’s been hope, and there’s been speculation. And now there’s movement and directed energy for the potential crown jewel in the Foster landscape.
While the Phoenix Pharmacy Building, at 6515 SE Foster, has sat vacant for several years, save for the occasional stove sale or tour of the site, it’s promise is undeniable. And it is that promise that Matt Froman, son of the building’s owner, Robert (Buck), seeks to realize. If his goal is accomplished, Froman will turn a former drug store owned by John Leach — that of the Leach Botanical Garden fame — into an iconic building that anchors the heart of Foster with an historical aesthetic.
In June, the Phoenix Pharmacy Building underwent a feasibility study with the aid of the Portland Development Commission (PDC), and it was determined the site could potentially accommodate a bar/restaurant, as well as retail and office space. No seismic upgrades would be needed, but renovations would be necessary to attract a future tenant. With that in mind, the possibilities became more evident, even if it would take time, money, and some serious sweat.
Despite the burdensome costs and daunting task of renovation, it is the promise of the building that keeps Froman enthusiastic and the neighborhood eager to see what comes of the space. In fact, Oregonian writer, Michael Russell, even opined this morning that the former Phoenix Pharmacy is one of four Portland buildings that he wishes will become a restaurant someday. And if the neighborhood and Froman had their wish, Russell would be spot on.
There’s more than just promise and hope, though. In addition to the feasibility study in June, Froman has been busy seeking grant money to fix the image of the building. So while structural and interior renovations will prove to be costly, the interim is bringing an exterior renewal of the site. Earlier in the year, the Phoenix Pharmacy was awarded a grant through Southeast Uplift’s Neighborhood Small Grant program to fund a mural on the building’s west wall (overlooking Foster Road). And now, to make the mural that much bigger and impressive, Froman has applied for another grant with the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). There will be a public review meeting for this application, and all are welcome to attend. For more information on that meeting, see below: