Mar 12, 2007
New Look For Historic Downtown Troutdale Block?
The Troutdale City Council's Feb. 6 work session included a presentation by local developers for a proposed new project in downtown Troutdale. Mike Greenslade and Brent Parry from Troutdale's own Bremik Construction, Inc. were joined by Michael Wells from Wells Development Company LLC to describe a proposal to develop retail, office and residential units at the site of the "Marino block" property on Historic Columbia River Highway.
The proposal calls for a brewpub and other retail space on Columbia River Highway (The existing Troutdale Vision Clinic building will remain in place), and office space for Bremik Construction on the second floor. Greenslade also suggested there could be space for Troutdale's new branch of the Multnomah County Library here. This would still leave about 4000 SF of available tenant space.
On the south side of the block on 2nd Street, eleven fee simple rowhouses were proposed. These units would be two stories high from 2nd Street, with garages for each unit below.
The entire block would be constructed with a "Timberline" theme, using heavy recycled timbers, stonework, and lots of glass. Greenslade stated the project would be constructed with as much "green" material as possible.
This historic block was once home of the Troutdale General Store, which opened in 1891 by Aaron Fox( who later became Troutdale's first mayor). The business, which sold everything from buckets to Bull Durham, operated in several locations in town. In 1925, Fox's son Milton moved it to this block. Former clerk Ray Meger became owner in 1946, inheriting customers who had shopped at the store for 50 years. (Historical information according to Troutdale Historical Society)
The developers came to the city council because they wanted to know if the city would be willing to commit to a public/private partnership by contributing approximately $200,000 for 19 public parking stalls in the middle portion of the block between the retail/office buildings and the 11 rowhouses.
That was a very good question. So, at my suggestion, the city council directed city staff to come up with all available methods other than a $200k hit on Troutdale's general fund to provide this assistance.
Although Greenslade said this project could go forward without the public parking, I think 19 extra spaces downtown would be a great benefit if the city can find a way to finance the public parking with a minimum of general fund cash.
The final piece of this proposal was a request by the developers for assistance with Tri-Met to move the existing #77 bus stop on 2nd Street, which would be virtually at the front door of the proposed townhouses. A Tri-Met staffer did come to this work session. I don't remember his name. But he didn't give anything but the most general of replies even to direct questions about options to move this bus stop. The only promise he made was a commitment to temporarily move the bus stop during construction.
In any event, this proposal is good news if all the pieces fall into place. This block has been an eyesore since a major fire burned down the east side of the block in 2002.
Here's a picture of the site now. It's time to unlock downtown Troutdale's future from its current chain link fenced rubble.