Portland UpClose, Summer 2002
HOME STYLE: ALOFT IN THE PEARL
Robert Ball is like a kid in a candy store. The Portland developer and
Police Bureau reserve captain is personally supervising three dozen hard-hat
workers converting the Marshall-Wells Hardware Company warehouse into
his latest pet project, the Marshall-Wells Lofts.
since he was a little boy, whispers his mother, tagging along on
the tour, he always wanted to wear a hard hat and direct a building.
than 100 of the 164 light-flooded residential spaces have already been
snapped up months before the projects expected completion
in August. Everyones just glomming on to this project, because
its a real loft, Ball says.
The Marshall-Wells property is one of the Pearl Districts last remaining industrial warehouses suitable for residential conversion, and one of only a dozen or so authentic loft buildings in the city. Its also the most unique: inside, a 4,500-square-foot atrium plunges through the center of the building, open to the elements and lined with trees and benches, with a giant water fountain at its core. Interior windows look out into the atrium. Exterior windows $1.3 million worth of soundproof glass look out onto views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Forest Park, two bridges, and the West Hills.
project is attracting a diverse group of homebuyers, says Ken Olenslager,
associate broker for Marshall-Wells. We've got a really wide range
[of buyers] because theres a huge price range, he says, noting
that the lofts sell from the mid $100s up to $800,000. Many of the smaller,
lower-priced studios are being purchased as starter homes by young professionals
who are now renting, he says. The larger lofts, meanwhile, are attracting
older couples, many of whom are trading their multi-bedroom houses for
the conveniences of inner-city living now that their children are grown.
Olenslager says about 15 to 20 percent of buyers are from out of state.
Some of these, he adds, are former Oregonians who have had successful
careers elsewhere and are now moving back to Portland for a more relaxed
designed by Daniel Burnham, the Chicago architect widely considered the
father of the modern skyscraper, the 92-year-old warehouse at 1420 N.W.
Lovejoy Street is the second largest historic restoration in Oregon. I
get my satisfaction, Ball says, from taking an historic building
a treasure and bringing it back.
coat of another color
164, ranging from 633 square feet to 2,800 square feet.
$134,000 to $800,000. The deal includes a property tax break: a flat $350
annual rate for the projects first 15 years.
Central City Streetcar (a car stops in front of the building every 12
minutes), coffee shops, boutique shopping, art galleries, brewpubs and