Along Northeast Sandy Boulevard between 17th and 34th avenues, pockets of renovation and renewal are showing signs of economic rejuvenation. Tod Breslau, broker with Premier Property Group, started several years ago with See See Coffee at Northeast 17th and Sandy by brokering and arranging the sale of the property and transforming it from an old office building to the first combination coffee house/motorcycle boutique, catering to Portland’s motorcycling community. Directly across the street on the north side of Sandy, a similar transformation can be seen. What was once an auto retailer is now a children’s gym.
“This was once Northeast Portland’s Auto Row,” Breslau said, “but the slowdown of the auto industry ten years ago started these properties into decline.” As more car dealers went out of business, the properties became ripe for renovation, he added.
Detouring to Northeast 24th Avenue and Glisan Street, Breslau pointed out the one-time Timberline Jeep maintenance garage, now home to several restaurants. One of those eateries boldly renamed the intersection 24th and Meatballs.
Back on Sandy, the former Timberline Dodge showroom, is now home to HATCH, which Breslau described as a non-profit business accelerator and incubator. HATCH provides loans, education, offices for lease and training to budding entrepreneurs. Walking into the onetime showroom was an eerie feeling for this reporter, remembering the car deal and loan once concluded in one of the side offices.
The gemstone of 2013’s rejuvenation is The Bindery, 30,000 square feet of mixed use with offices on the second floor, retail on the main floor and a winery in the basement. Breslau said more than $4 million has been invested in the building at Northeast 30th and Sandy and that economic ripples will be felt well into the future: four dozen contractors now working on rehab will be replaced by 17 to 20 tenants employing more than 100 office, retail, service workers, artisans and professionals.
Breslau said 90 percent of The Bindery’s space has been leased. Among the early tenants:
• Grayling Jewelry’s flagship store which opened an 800-square-foot showroom and workshop in mid November with a celebration that included a gypsy jazz band
• Oregon’s first Chiroway franchise, owned by Landyn Shanks, D.C., offering monthly payment access to ongoing chiropractic care.
• A spacious beauty salon with more than a dozen stations.
Breslau said that although the new Standard Brands Appliance outlet at Northeast 33rd and Sandy is not one of Premier’s projects, he views relocation of the store part of the area’s dynamic business rehabilitation.
Across Northeast 33rd Avenue, a 17-unit motel is being renovated along the European model of upscale 250-square-feet micro apartments to be offered at market rates. The bike-friendly residence is within walking distance of a New Season’s market in a residential/retail complex under construction at the former Albina Fuel site at Northeast 33rd Avenue and Broadway to the north.