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The Business Journal, March 5, 2001

PEARL DISTRICT WAREHOUSE NEXT IN LINE FOR RENOVATION

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By Heidi J. Stout

An historic warehouse on the edge of the Pearl District will the converted to 164 lofts if the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission approves a $32 million renovation of the $5 million property March 12.

This is one of the final hurdles that must be cleared by the building's owner, Evergreen Northern LLC of Portland, before construction can begin next month on the Marshall Wells Lofts.

The building was once a Marshall Wells Hardware Company warehouse, covering the block between Northwest Lovejoy Street, Northwest Kearney Street and Northwest 14th and 15th Avenues. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

"This project is different than other Pearl District developments because it's a real loft," said Evergreen Northern owner Robert Ball. "Others have to imitate the loft feel--we can give them the real thing."

One- and two-bedroom condominiums and two-story, 2,800-square-foot penthouses are planned for the building, designed by architect Daniel Burnham in 1910. The smallest 633-square-foot units are expected to sell for $130,000 and higher.

Changes such as retail space, mezzanine-level parking and repainting will be seen at the street level, but the most substantial change is a 4,500-square-foot hole cut in the center of the building from the roof to the third floor.

The courtyard provides ventilation and light to 12 one-bedroom lofts located on each floor of the building's interior.

The historic landmarks commission has already approved phase one of the loft project, which will include 164 units, 188 parking spaces, 40 bicycle spaces in a total of 310,800 square feet when it is completed in May or June of 2002.
Phase two of the proposal includes a mezzanine level between the first and second floor for parking and addition of a penthouse floor above the seventh floor to accommodate the second floor of 19 units.

"I'm not really a traditional developer, I consider myself a historic preservationist," said Ball, who also refurbished The American apartments at Northwest 21st Avenue and Johnson Street. "I take older buildings and I try to rehabilitate or restore them. The Marshall Wells is a beautiful project, but the building is in very poor condition."

The warehouse is the only surviving building of three owned by the Marshall Wells company. It housed mill, mining and railroad supplies and goods from cutlery and saddlery to stoves and sporting goods.

Pearl District Neighborhood Association spokeswoman Guenevere Millius said renovation of the dilapidated, dreary warehouse is welcome.

"This is one of the better uses we've seen," she said. "It will bring life to the neighborhood."

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