Brad Malsin’s Beam Development, which tried and failed to secure the right to develop the Burnside Bridgehead, the four-square block mega-development project at the east end of the Burnside Bridge, in 2005, has been given another chance. (Opus Northwest, which the Portland Development Commission selected to develop the site, abandoned the project last year.) PDC’s Kia Selley confirmed for the Central East Side Urban Renewal Advisory Committee last month that not only is her agency discussing development possibilities with Maltsin and Beam, they are in “exclusive negotiations” with them. She cautioned that the discussions are “very preliminary,” that it has not yet been determined what the minimum specifications for development will be, whether Beam will develop the land on its own or in cooperation with other entities, or whether a development agreement can in fact be reached.
However Maltsin, known for the constructive re-use of older buildings, starts with an advantage wrought by another PDC about-face. After insisting for months that it had to demolish the Convention Plaza office building at 123 N.E. 3rd Ave. to make the land “shovel-ready” for development, the agency has agreed to let the building stand. PDC spent $700,000 in emptying the Plaza and re-locating its tenants.