Early next year, the Rheinlander and Gustav’s restaurants at 5035 N.E. Sandy Boulevard in Rose City Park will close to make way for the construction of a new, two-story building that will house offices for local health care provider The Portland Clinic. The existing restaurant buildings will be demolished – with work likely to begin this spring – and the project is planned to include at least 45 parking spaces.
The two residential properties to the north of the site – which were included in the deal – will not be demolished. The northernmost property, at 2456 N.E. 50th Ave., will go on the market within the next 30 days and the property closer to the project site, at 2452 N.E. 50th Ave., will probably be sold after construction is completed in June of 2018. The triangular lot across the street on Sandy between 50th and 40th Aves. will be retained for surface parking, most likely for the employees of The Portland Clinic.
The Portland Clinic has signed a long-term lease for 24,000-square-feet in the new facility, which will house all of the clinic’s current staff – moving from its two smaller, east side locations at 541 N.E. 20th Ave. in the Kerns neighborhood and 5847 N.E. 122nd Ave. in Parkrose. The 32,000-square-foot project will also offer 6000- to 8000-square-feet of ground-floor retail space fronting Sandy that will be available for lease.
Portland-based Venerable Properties purchased the property in late September and will serve as developer for the project. Venerable has a reputation for landmark projects like Washington High School’s Revolution Hall in the Buckman neighborhood and the White Stag Block and Ladd Carriage House downtown. After last month’s announcement of a six-story, 89-unit multifamily project on the former Taco Time property across the street, the scope of this project is significantly smaller than some neighbors might have feared.
“Parking is really at a premium now,” said Mike DeKalb, owner of the Laurelwood Public House and Brewery next door. “This project should have less of an impact on our neighbors than the big one across the street. It sounds like it will be a quality building. At the end of the day, I think both projects will be good for our business and I’m looking forward to meeting our new neighbors.”
“We want to be good neighbors and build high-quality projects that we and the community can be proud of,” said Craig Kelly, Venerable’s president. “Yes, we could have built a larger scale project and maybe made a little more money – but that would require more risk – and most likely selling it too. We’re more long-term oriented than that and we prefer to be involved in projects that will stand the test of time. We looked at trying to save the existing building because that’s what we do, but it wasn’t going to work. The more efficient and practical use of this property is to build a new structure that would be a good fit for the character of the established neighborhood.”
After more than 50 years in the neighborhood, Guten Foods CEO Suzeanne Mager announced the closing of the restaurants late last month. Rheinlander employees will have the opportunity to stay on until the restaurant closes its doors – sometime in the first quarter of 2017 – and then will be offered positions at other Guten Foods locations.
“This decision didn’t happen overnight,” said Mager. “I have bittersweet feelings about it. We have hosted three – and in some cases four – generations of customers at Der Rheinlander. A number of our employees met their spouses here, started families of their own and later some of their children grew up to work in the restaurant themselves. We’ve hosted engagements, rehearsal dinners, receptions, anniversaries, wakes, memorials – and provided a venue for holiday parties and celebrations of all kinds – many important milestones and significant life events.”
“Enjoying dinners at the Rheinlander has been as much a part of our family as any other Portland tradition,” said Dick Clark, The Portland Clinic CEO. “While we were very sad to hear that the Rheinlander is closing its doors, we take solace in knowing that the space will be used to continue to serve the city in a positive way. As one of this city’s oldest medical practices, we take pride in our deep, historic Portland roots and want to continue to serve as part of the fabric of this beautiful region.”
Horst Mager, a third-generation chef from Germany, opened the restaurant in 1963. In the 1990s, his daughter Suzeanne purchased the company and continues to own and operate both the Rheinlander and Gustav’s five locations. For every entree sold from September 30 until the restaurant closes, Guten Foods will make a small donation to New City Kitchen in the Montavilla neighborhood. New City provides training and placement in the food service industry for people with employment challenges.
“We’re giving back to the community in which we’ve done business for more than five decades,” said Mager.
“Portland’s population is expanding rapidly,” said Clark. “We’re seeing growing demand for our medical services throughout the city and we want to position our services in convenient locations to serve current and new residents. This new facility not only improves access for our patients on the east side, it also makes it possible for us to expand the services we offer.”
“It is a privilege to serve the people of Portland and we are committed to giving back in every way we can,” said Clark. “All of our clinics across the metro area support their neighbors in different ways. We are quite pleased that this new location will make it possible for us to grow our partnerships with some of the area’s finest schools so that we can help nurture the next generation of medical professionals.”