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Schnitzer tackles Centennial Mills redevelopment

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Developer Jordan Schnitzer's Harsch Investment Properties plan to redevelop  the Centennial Mills property on the Willamette riverfront.Developer Jordan Schnitzer and his team at Harsch Investment Properties will take a crack at redeveloping the Centennial Mills property on the Willamette riverfront.

The Portland Development Commission approved a $350,000 loan to Harsch on Tuesday to do “predevelopment” work at the Pearl District site, which means analyzing the project’s financial potential and preparing preliminary designs.

PDC acquired the 4.7-acre site on 1362 N.W. Naito Parkway in 2000, but a series of proposals for redevelopment have fizzled since then. Much of the property is in disrepair and is considered quite costly to refurbish.

The city redevelopment agency wants to see Centennial Mills transformed to host “cluster industry/traded sector employment,” which refers to targeted industries like footwear, software and clean energy that the city is courting and having success attracting. In addition, the city’s plan for Centennial Mills includes retail space, arts-related attractions, multifamily housing and 295 parking spaces.

Schnitzer told the PDC that he was passionate about restoring the site. PDC commissioner Steven Strauss expressed concern about the loan to Harsch, citing fears that costs of the ultimate project would be more than the PDC can afford.