Wikman Building Out; Bob White Back In

Just like some high school clique, someone’s always gotta be on the outs.

And in the Foster area, the “improvement gods” can only shine so much light on our gritty thoroughfare, despite an obvious energy pulling it in an upward trajectory.  As such, we see progress…and we see setbacks.

First, the good news:  The Bob White Theatre is back.  Not that it was gone, but it was certainly on its way to becoming an oversized storage space for unused theater seating.  Fortunately, someone else has the money to do what we all wish we could do with the space.  That someone is Zachariah White, along with event organizer, Pulsar Productions.

IMG_1029Before you all get too excited, let’s remember that the cost of installing a digital projector is a lot.  In other words, movies are not imminent.  At least not in the way you all envision (hint: pizza, beer, and second-run flicks a la the Academy Theater—we never said Pulsar had a lot of money, just more than us).  But, that doesn’t mean the Bob White can’t be a rad space.  And hopefully White and Pulsar can prove that.  And maybe, just maybe, movies become part of their plan down the road.  For now, though, Pulsar is leasing the property in a “get-to-know-the-owner/prove-to-owner-our-model-works” type of deal.

The folks behind the new operation spoke at Monday’s neighborhood association meeting, where they discussed their background and plans for the space.  For the time being, they intend to take things slow as they seek community feedback.  And that’s where you come in.  While Pulsar has filled the niche of dance party organizers/promoters in the past, they seek to use the Bob White for a variety of uses.  For example, in addition to live music shows, they’d like to see the warehouse used on a regular (daily?) basis for other creative uses.  One idea was to open some of the space up to artists or screen printers, who would then sublease some of the warehouse.

Ideally, while the Bob White generates revenue being leased out, its owner, Nick Storie, will then be able to make continued renovations.  And while no major transformations are imminent, the marquee will remain lit on most evenings in a nod to the theater’s (hopeful) rebirth.

wikman_building_photoUnfortunately, as the Bob White finds new energy, an iconic building around the corner will remain vacant for a while longer.  The Wikman Building, located just north of Laurelwood Park at 4420 SE 64th Ave, has been the focus of Rose Community Development since 2012, as they’ve sought to acquire the building from Multnomah County.  For over a year, the site has been eyed by Rose and its coalition of stakeholders as a potential community center, where a mix of uses/businesses could be supported by and cater to the surrounding neighborhood (i.e. business incubator, child care center, internet cafe, etc).  This plan hinged on piecing together a financial plan that the County felt comfortable with.  Just last week, however, the County notified the coalition that they lacked an anchor tenant and sufficient revenue projections to purchase the building.  This has all but ended the process of taking over the site, which was deemed as surplus property by the County last year.  A request for proposals will be submitted by the County to seek a new buyer.


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8 Responses to Wikman Building Out; Bob White Back In

  1. Aaron says:

    Taking it slow seems like a prudent business strategy. So many businesses come and go so quickly.

    Other ideas for the space: Maker fairs. Mini sales conventions. Dances.

    It would be so cool to have an Academy / Laurelhurst kind of movie venue in the area eventually.

    • Yes, I thought the same thing. We’ve heard so many proposals and seen so many businesses come and go—a slow, steady approach may be the best way to move forward. Especially if you don’t have deep pockets.

      Variety, too, seems like the best option until something takes hold. And hopefully the theater option does…eventually.

  2. Spiffy says:

    if the Bob White opened the concession stand maybe the neighborhood association could have their meetings in there… it’d be a nice quiet space for discussion, and they could have presentations…

    I didn’t even know the Wikman Building wasn’t being used… I love the old city building look that it has… an internet cafe already failed on the next block over between the Tango place and meat market… the intersection of Holgate/Foster is just too much of a hassle to get much meaningful traffic… I’m hoping they nix the diagonal crosswalk when they do the redesign and put in normal ones that parallel Holgate so you don’t have to wait through two lights just to cross the street…

  3. Agreed. That intersection is a challenge.

    That stretch of Holgate will be changing, though. WIth the streetscape plan, I think that intersection gets a reconfiguration. Also, with the new housing developments at 65th and 67th, demand will increase for more/changed use of some of the aforementioned spaces.

    As for the Wikman, it has value at so many different levels. The old brick architecture adds a lot of character and complements the SEIU building across the street, for example. It once served as a library—I could see that being a good use of the space if one didn’t already exist 18 blocks east. Expansion???

  4. When I see the Wikman, my first thought is always “Grand Lodge.” I have no idea what the interior layout is, but wouldn’t it be cool if there was a small hotel upstairs and a restaurant/pub downstairs? Then out of town guests would have an option that is not on 82nd or next to the freeway for a place to stay.

  5. Pingback: Happy Weekend, FoPo! |

  6. Thank you for this forum.

    Dear Judy & Patrick,

    I, for one, have had enough. . .and by the way, Judy dear; just in case you have forgotten your pretentious declaration @our little “joint” get together with the Mercury staff waaay back in the Spring of 2012? Your grandiose finale back pat, your pride of bringing the community together; “accomplishments” relative to your support of the Foster Powell neighborhood?

    Au contraire!

    Wrong answer on the Wikman Building!

    I will be seeing you, Judy @ the board meeting. I trust Patrick will be present and accounted for.

    Get ready. It’ll be a doozy!

    When I ran for the position of Commissioner District 3 (I deeply apologize to the voters) I was about as ignorant as one could possibly be. The snake pit mentality of Oregon politics is certainly FULL of hiss. . .

    Oops! Guess what? No more. I know how to read real good.

    The Wikman Building and every single person in this community deserves RESPECT!

    If you haven’t seen the County Board Auditorium mic smoke? A medical cannabis dispensary is the least of your worries; I can assure you.

    I am preparing my written and oral arguments for Thursday, January 9th.

    Happy New Year 2014!

    Sincerely, Patty Burkett

  7. Good Evening!

    Today, Friday January 3, 2013 is a beautiful day for The Wikman Arleta Building!

    And her proud supporters in this lovely enclave that exemplifies the essence of real neighbors! Good on all of you. You are going to be thrilled!

    I am pleased to share some very interesting and compelling “public information” that may be of great interest to the community partners. My research today, is quite the weave of a tall tale.

    I thank you for allowing me to chat with you here on your site.

    With the wealth of public information that the web so graciously provides; there is a very compelling reason for Ms. Shiprack and her consorts to re, re, re, re-consider what they might be up to regarding The Wikman Arleta site.

    Preferential treatment does not work well with me, let alone the documented gotchas! You are definitely being snookered. Why?

    I imagine it’s all about lots and lots of money. Again. As usual.

    Dates, times and places. Legal notarized documents. Courts exhibit quality. I am certain!

    Well, why are certain neighborhood investors given passes and byes on real property purchases and uses? Especially the dots that show with magnificent clarity the well connected friends of Patrick Quinton and Charlie Hales! Hummm. . .I continue to connect these pesky little dots. There are lots of them! Next Thursday will be quite the eye opener. Maybe the Ladies of the Board, are going to wish the internet and its varietal information would just go away? Or me! Oops!

    Or. . .special dispensations that The Wikman Alumnai Coalition, if I may, are not receiving in like kind or better? Like just a smidgen of equity? At least. . .

    We shall see. I will definitely be @the January 9th extravaganza! Bring the fireworks in your hearts!

    Mrs. Wikman, although I have not been fortunate enough to have met her, will be singing in Heaven! As she should!

    Why do you suppose entrepreneurial small and large, private, real estate tycoons are taking over Lents? Very close to The Wikman; as a matter of fact, one tiny little “walk-a-block” just West of your site. And a little further on down the road less traveled.

    We should all be fortunate enough to get such great deals on the fly as recently as July 8, 2013@02:01:41pm and on property tax payment option discount day on November 15, 2013.

    I love treasure hunts! The detail is exquisite! I am very ready for the event next week. I am looking forward to the electricity in the room! And, I look forward to meeting you too!

    I’ll be seeing you, Ladies! I promise I will be good.

    Thank you for your service!

    Sincerely, Patty

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