Pick us! Developers pitch their Broadway Corridor credentials
Portland's economic development agency Prosper Portland hosted the three finalists for redeveloping the Broadway Corridor. Leaders from McWhinney, Related Companies and Continuum Partners pitched and answered questions from officials and the local community.
The three firms were there to establish their credentials based on past work, rather than to present ideas for how the neighborhood will look. Prosper Portland will pick a winner on May 9, which will have exclusive rights to propose a redevelopment plan for the 14-acre United States Postal Service property in northwest Portland.
Many of the questions from the floor, delivered by the app Slido, were about how the developers planned to include people of color.
McWhinney executives Chad McWhinney and Dan Cohen talked about their first Portland project, four years ago, the AC Portland Hotel at SW Third and Taylor, with Sage Hospitality. Then followed a slew of names proving they are close to Portland's movers and shakers, including: Hake Development, André Baugh of Group AGB, and Bruce Wood; Beam Development, Mortenson, Harper's Playground, Grady Britton and Paige Powell. McWhinney is also close to the James Beard Public Market and TEDx Portland.
"I don't need to tell you about equitable," said Cohen, "But we use equity as a lens, a filter for every aspect of a project."
Asked how they would learn about Portlanders' priorities, they said they would listen. "We need help from you."
McWhinney said for the three-and-a-half years they have been coming to Portland they have been asking 'Who is the best here' then running the answer by 15 other people.
Asked how they work with communities of color, they didn't have strong examples, but said the Dairy Block redevelopment in Denver had once had a diverse workforce which was honored in that development. They do local too. "We're turning on our back on the Starbucks of the world to focus on smaller, even husband and wife companies."
Related was represented by William Witte. The company has huge developments under its belt, such as Brooklyn Yards and Grand Avenue near the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, and lots of work with starchitect Frank Gehry. He talked of immediately forming a partnership with local commercial real estate company Melvin Mark Company, as well as close ties with Central City Concern. Asked about working with communities of color he said Related often partners with African American churches as co-general partners and works with school districts.
Mark Falcone of Continuum played a rapid slideshow that hit all the spots, including Tanner Springs Park in the Pearl and Union Station in Denver. "A community's trust is our greatest commodity," he said. He told how Continuum took a 1960s car-centric shopping mall in Lakewood, Colorado and turned it into a walkable shopping neighborhood, worked closely with a museum of contemporary art and built a 26-acre medical campus in Denver.
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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