Commercial Builds to Keep An Eye on in Portland 2020

Despite pandemic and national closures, Portland still has a lot of upcoming urban development projects slated for this summer and the upcoming year. I love keeping an eye on the commercial builds happening around town, and I’m especially excited about these new projects. Take a look.

Pae Living Building

Projected completion: Summer of 2021. The PAE Living Building just broke ground last March in Portland’s historic Old Town District. As architecture firm ZGF claimed in a press release, “PAE Living Building tells the story of Portland: aspirational, progressive, and yet deeply rooted in Pacific Northwest history.” This five-story project located on the corner of SW First Avenue and Pine Street will be the largest commercial-use living building not only in Oregon, but in the entire world.


In May of this year, right in the midst of coronavirus’ economic uncertainty, Portland real estate developer Vanessa Sturgeon announced the building of an eight-story office in the city’s Central Eastside. It will be made with cross-laminated timber (CLT), believed to be stronger structurally and to leave a far smaller carbon footprint than steel and concrete. Another benefit of CLT is that buying it supports the local communities in small timber towns. Although said to be more expensive than alternative materials, CLT construction is easier to build and are more appealing. As for the timing of Sturgeon, it may now be the perfect time to strike so that when the building gets finished in two to three years, the economy will hopefully be recovering.


Another development worth waiting for is the Unicorn Bed Apartments, soon to rise on 2167 NW Glisan Street in 2021. Aside from its name, Unicorn Beds is interesting because it will provide affordable, compact 2-bedroom apartment units for single mothers. It will give the residents access to all amenities of the neighborhood. The building’s efficient layout makes the units feel and look much larger than their compact size. Well-lit outdoor spaces make it easy for families to interact and encourage community. The project will be two 3-story buildings, with thirteen units and an on-site daycare center.

Last May 14, 2020, The Mann Home in Portland’s Kerns Neighborhood was sold to Innovative Housing Inc. Known for its provision of affordable housing around the metro region, the nonprofit plans to convert the stately 62,000-square-foot Elizabethan-style manor into affordable housing, with 39 units created in the existing building, 49 units in addition, and another 40 units in the south of the building. The units would be considered workforce housing, offering rents to families with incomes of between 30 and 60 percent of the median family income. Offices of Innovative Housing Inc. will also be lodging in the property. To further preserve the Mann Home, historic buildings and large trees will not be moved or displaced.


Block 216, already in construction in 2019, will be Portland’s first project built on the Green loop, and the largest development in the city since the US Bank Tower. This 35-story mixed-use tower will include retail office, hotel, and residential condominium uses, with a 342-stall underground parking garage. Standing at 460 feet tall in the full block bound by SW 10th, Washington, 9th and Alder, this milestone building will become the city’s fifth tallest structure. To make it more interesting, the building’s enclosure is the shape of a “gem” in Portland’s skyline.

Exciting changes for Portland on the horizon, or skyline rather. It will be interesting to see how the current climate impacts their trajectories. Which of these builds are you most interested in?

Stunning Condo at the Door of the Pearl District

Serena got in touch with me as an out of town agent through my website. As a remote buyer, she was looking for virtual support, great communication and lots of info on the local market and Portland’s neighborhoods. After a number of virtual video walk-throughs in a few condos across the city, she settled on an absolute stunner. This 1,898 square foot condo boasted an additional 1000 square foot outdoor space and incomparable views of the city, making it an easy choice for Serena.

A quiet home in the North Park Loft building meant the Pearl and downtown were right at her doorstep.

You could see the attention to detail and emphasis on quality in the custom floor-to-ceiling windows featuring city & mountain views from every room.

Through great communication and a little time hitting the pavement, I think it’s easy to see that Serena landed herself with a remarkable new home. Congratulations Serena!

Listing Courtesy of: The Agency, Inc

A Chic & Modern New Condo for a Repeat Client

In the past few years, I have helped Gary buy and sell a gorgeous condo in the Pearl. He came back to me recently, having entered a new phase of life and looking for a home that better suited his needs and wants for the future. We found a beautiful custom built condo by Everett Custom Homes featuring totally modern conveniences—luxury finishes, slab quartz counter-tops, an open floor plan with high ceilings.

Sustainable, energy-efficient, and quality craftsmanship made this condo an easy choice for a new lifestyle across town.

Gary’s criteria for space and location were more than met, being within walking distance of Williams and Mississippi Ave. and their ample access to parks, top restaurants, shops, and grocery stores.  Most importantly, this condo allowed for flexibility with his payments so that he can continue his travels and rock climbing and yoga hobbies. This perfect condo is brand new and Gary will be its’ very first owner!

Listing courtesy of Jennifer Tran of Everett Real Estate Group

The Importance of Home Inspections

Once a buyer is under contract to purchase a home we begin the process of inspecting the home for any necessary repairs. This can range from small items such as an outlet that doesn’t work to a full roof replacement. It is so very important for buyers to have inspections done on their potential home to avoid any large, unexpected repairs after closing. With detached homes there are a number of inspections that I recommend to get a full look at the home.

The first is a general inspection. This is done by a local home inspector. He or she will come to the home and take a look at all of the large systems in the home such as the furnace, water heater and roof. They will also visually inspect the plumbing and electrical work in the home. This inspector will check for any evidence of leaks in the home and things such as dry rot and mold. After this inspector has completed their report we will know if any further inspections are needed from a specialized technician.   For example, if the inspector notices a leak or crack in the furnace we might have a licensed HVAC technician come out to assess the issue and if any repairs are needed.

The second inspection I recommend is a sewer scope. This is a very common inspection to check the entire sewer line from the house to the street for any cracks or leaks. Most of the time, if there is an issue it will be a root from a nearby tree growing into the line or a small crack from age. During this inspection a small camera will be run from the sewer line at the house to the street to check for any problems with the line.

The third inspection I recommend is a radon level test. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can cause cancer. There are areas in Portland, especially the north east, that have historically high levels. (See the Portland radon map here This inspection is done over a 48 hour period. The home must have closed conditions for 12 hours prior to starting the test through the full 48 hours. A device is placed in the home to track radon levels over this period of time and find the average level of radon pCi/liter. The EPA suggests an average level under 4 pCi/liter does not need radon mitigation and any average over 4 should be mitigated. New construction code now requires a passive radon mitigation system be in place upon completion and in older homes with high levels a mitigation system is usually easy to install.

The fourth inspection I recommend if the home was built before 1965 is an oil tank scan. Homes built before 1965 were likely to have used oil heating at some point and checking for an underground tank is recommended. Many homes that did use oil heating have since been converted to gas heating, but the underground tank may not have been decommissioned properly. A leaking underground oil tank could cause soil contamination and be a health risk. An inspector will come out to scan the entire property for evidence of an underground tank. If one is found the next step is to check soil samples to find out of leaking has occurred. Decommissioning an oil tank will require a bit more investigation to find the extent of any contamination and decide on the best way to remove or fill the tank.

These are the main inspections recommended for a detached home in Portland. There may be other inspections required after the initial ones, but this is a good start to protect yourself when purchasing a home.