The Phoenix Pharmacy May Have its Rebirth…But not Without Your Help

Could the Phoenix Pharmacy’s rebirth hinge on your pocket books?

If a proposed partnership between Mercy Corps and Rose Community Development Corp. takes hold, and a financial plan proves successful, that could be the case.  The Portland Business Journal (subscription required) recently published an article discussing the proposal, which would revolve around a collective investment model and seek up to 300 investors from the neighborhood.  This model, otherwise known as a real estate investment trust (REIT), is being pursued as a means to acquire the building, but also to “bring real estate investing to residents of Portland’s low-income Lents and Foster-Powell neighborhoods,” as the article states.

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The Phoenix Pharmacy building has sat all but unused for several years. The occasional “junk sale” by its owner shows of some of the building’s potential, but also how much junk has piled up in the building over the years, contributing to its state of forlorn.

If the theory follows, local investors would be able to tap into rising property values of the building as it becomes restored and attracts businesses willing to rent.  Investing in the project could cost “as little as $10 a month.”  It is not known how this model will specifically help low-income residents, as the article suggests, but it appears to be the Foster area’s first chance at putting its money where its mouth is.  In other words, we all want to see that building restored—now there may be a possibility to actually contribute toward that end.

Details remain foggy, such as how investors would get their return, how long an investor would need to commit, and what kind of businesses would be sought out to lease the space.  And even if all that were to be determined, the cost of repairing the building must be factored into the financial plan…and that could become too prohibitive.  If all works out, however, this could be the first real chance the Phoenix Pharmacy has at a rebirth.  And with that, Foster realizes more and more of its potential.

What are your thoughts on the community investment model?

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11 Responses to The Phoenix Pharmacy May Have its Rebirth…But not Without Your Help

  1. Alex Reed says:

    Is FoPo really low-income? I’d bet that, given recent gentrification, FoPo’s average income is probably quite close to the Portland average income by now.

    Lents undeniably has a lower average income compared to the city as a whole. Yet there is huge variation from household to household . I guess I have a semantic issue with characterizing a whole area as “low-income” as opposed to individual households within.

    Also, the Phoenix Pharmacy is not super close to Lents (probably a mile from the Lents border).

    • Alex,

      I thought the same thing when I read the article. Sure, parts of Foster have been neglected, and many areas along the corridor have traditionally been lower income. However, that’s not so much the case anymore.

      As for the connection with Lents…it almost seems like a disingenuous selling point in many ways. Community developers appear more credible if they target certain populations, thus the designation of FoPo as low-income and the affiliation with Lents. Truth is, such a project would probably not have an impact on Lents at all.

    • Liza says:

      If you think that FoPo is not low income, you should live there for a while. It most definitely IS low income- I for one am a resident, and although I have a job, I am considered low income. every one of my neighbors, and everyone I know in the neighborhood is low income. So my question is this: what do you consider to be low income?

      • Alex Reed says:

        Hi Liza,
        I wasn’t trying to invalidate your experience or claim that there are no low-income people in FoPo. I apologize.

        Personally, I live in FoPo, and I am not low-income. Of the people I know in the neighborhood, I’m pretty sure some are low-income and some aren’t.

        I think everyone has a different threshold for what they consider low-income, and it probably varies by context too. In quantitative work I’ve done, I’ve used 2x the federal poverty line. That’s about $47,000 of gross income for a family of four or 31,000 for a couple.

  2. The Phoenix is a great old building and its restoration will be a landmark event for Foster Road.
    My guess is that any investment will be long term and full of risk, but worth the gamble.
    It will be interesting to see how the plan evolves.

  3. Tim says:

    I’m in, where do I write a check? I wish the Bob White, or the Wikman building had a similar plan…

    • Tim,

      I know there are people who’d be interested in using a similar idea to fund the Bobwhite. It wouldn’t necessarily be an investment with return…rather, more getting people to chip in for the overall benefit of the community.

      Perhaps we need a local investor symposium. Surely there are some folks with money in the neighborhood.

  4. Miles says:

    Tim,

    I am working on a similar idea for the Bobwhite. My idea is more membership and local business based rather than investor based. I am thinking about starting to throw community dinners to talk about it. Perhaps potlucks at the Bobwhite (though it’s going to be cold starting about now…). I am thinking that I will put my ideas into a presentation, then listen to feedback and everyone else’s ideas of how we can make it work. There are significant barriers to getting the Bobwhite up and running, which is why it hasn’t happened. But by our powers combined, Captain Planet can make this happen. I’d love to sit down with anyone who wants to talk about it or better, wants to do something about it with me.

    I imagine a local business and membership based community center and performance venue which would provide art classes to kids, subsidize performing artists, and provide several rooms for businesses and various community activities (which can be booked by members). Hard not to put a million words in here…

  5. kskelly32 says:

    I would be interested!

  6. kskelly32 says:

    I would invest as part of a REIT. The Phoenix is a major asset for FoPo. It’s a shame to have it in the state it is today, I would love to see it upgraded and useful for FoPo residents.

  7. Amelia says:

    I am also interested in sitting down to discuss a plan for action.
    Are any of those who have commented previously involved in the current state of affairs. I just spoke with the men at Buck’s about the building status and they said it was potentially ‘sold’
    Hoping to get into contact with you all – potluck is a go!

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