By Jon Bell, Portland Business Journal
Barry Schlesinger summed up the Oregon Convention Center Hotel project simply and succinctly at a ground-breaking ceremony this morning.
“Today’s been a long time coming,” he said.
Schlesinger, a partner and owner of the real estate-focused Schlesinger Companies, was referencing not only the nearly 30 years that it’s taken to make a convention center hotel a reality, but also to his family’s 11-year involvement in the project. His firm owns the land where the hotel will be built and is selling it to Mortenson, the construction and development company that will build the hotel.
“It took all of us working together to carry this project through the toughest real estate market I have ever seen,” Schlesinger said.
Schlesinger was one of the leaders and officials who took the stage at the groundbreaking ceremony this morning at the site, which sits just north of the Oregon Convention Center. Joining him were Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Tom Hughes of Metro, Dan Mehls of Mortenson, Karis Stoudamire-Phillips of the Metropolitan Exposition and Recreation Commission, Tom Lander of Mortenson and Kimo Bertram of Hyatt.
Each thanked long lists of people who have worked for years to bring the Oregon Convention Center Hotel to fruition. The idea for one has percolated since the Convention Center itself was built in 1989, but finances, politics and even some legal challenges kept the project from advancing.
But everything started to finally line up over the past year or two, and now, the 600-room, $240 million Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center is on its way.
“We’re standing on the shoulders of many, many people and organizations … whose leadership and persistence and dedication brought us to this important moment, ” Wheeler said.
Though today’s groundbreaking was largely ceremonial, building permits have been issued and work is expected to get underway in earnest in the coming weeks.
The project is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs and an additional 950 hotel and hospitality jobs.
According to an analysis posted on Metro’s website, the new hotel is expected to attract between five and 10 new mid-sized conventions each year. It could also boost annual hotel business by 70,000 to 110,000 new room nights, kick up convention-related tourism spending to $600 million a year and generate more than $10.3 million in new state and local tax revenues.
Funding for the hotel will include $60 million in bonds backed by lodging tax revenue, $4 million from Metro, $10 million from lottery funds and $165 million from Hyatt and Mortenson.
It is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.
By Jon Bell, Portland Business Journal
By next fall, the metro region will have at least 154 new affordable housing units added to its inventory thanks to a project breaking ground Friday.
PHC Northwest, which offers educational training and job opportunities to individuals with mental, physical and developmental disabilities, is collaborating with affordable housing developer Home First Development on the new project.
PHC Northwest and Home First Development will break ground tomorrow on an affordable housing complex that will bring 154 units to outer Southeast Portland by next fall.
Located at 121 S.E. 146th Ave., the complex will include 154 one- and two-bedroom units and studios, as well as a community center, a small soccer field and a playground.
According to an announcement about the groundbreaking, this will be the fifth project the two entities have collaborated on. It is expected to be completed by fall 2017.
We love our pets, whether they be dogs, cats, hamsters, capybaras, hedgehogs, or pygmy goats—but that doesn’t mean that they want to see said pets (or any evidence of them) when looking at a home they’re thinking of buying.
“Pets are either an attractive distraction, so cute they distract prospective buyers from looking at the real estate, or completely the opposite—smelly, frightening, or otherwise off-putting,” says Diane Saatchi, an East Hampton, NY, real estate broker with Saunders & Associates.
Don’t want your precious property to be known as “that dog house”? Well, you need to pet-proof your place when preparing and showing it for sale. Here’s how, in six simple steps.
Although you know your pets would never hurt anyone, they could scratch or bite a potential buyer whom they mistake for an intruder on their territory. You could be held liable for any harm your pet causes, so make sure your homeowners insurance covers you for incidents like these.
However, some insurers will not cover anyone who owns what they deem vicious or aggressive breeds, such as pit bulls; and if they do provide coverage, it could be expensive. If you have such a dog (and even if you don’t), it’s best to keep him out of the house during a showing.
2. Prepare your yard
Buyers will walk around your yard, a stroll that will be ruined if they step in poop or turn an ankle where your dog likes to dig.
Perform a poop patrol before each showing. Double-bag the waste before disposing, so your garbage cans don’t smell when buyers walk by. Fill all holes and sprinkle grass seed on top.
Before putting your house on the market, make sure your yard is a green oasis—not a brown-and-yellow dustbowl created when pets pee on grass. You can try to aerate and seed bare spots. But if that doesn’t work fast enough, you can replace ugly patches with new sod. Then, train Travis the Titan Terrier to use an out-of-the-way spot for his business. Or take him for very long walks.
3. Remove the odors
Removing the odors pets leave behind is one of the biggest challenges. It’s easy to clean and tuck away kitty’s litter box. But it’s way harder to erase years of piddle from rugs and hardwood.
If a bacteria-eating pet odor remover doesn’t banish all traces of cat or dog urine, you might have to hire a professional service to clean carpets or rugs. (Perhaps you should consider this whether you are selling your home or not.) Often, however, the odor returns, so if a carpet continues to reek, replace it before buyers trek through.
Clean turtle, hamster, and guinea pig cages frequently, to prevent odors. And make fish tanks sparkle; a daily swipe with an eraser sponge will do the trick.
4. Clean up the hair
Not only does a layer of pet hair on floors and sofas make your home look messy, it can trigger allergies and send potential buyers sneezing and wheezing out the door.
Before each showing, vacuum and dust to remove any settled hair or dander. Or, consider buying a vacuuming robot (such as a Roomba) that you can schedule to suck up hair several times a day. They actually work.
If your pet sheds, brush him frequently outside, so the hair doesn’t fly around the house. Bathing can help minimize shedding, too.
5. Hide the evidence
Like kids, pets (or rather, their caretakers) tend to accumulate lots of stuff—leashes, collars, toys, water bowls, food, cute sweaters, and costumes for Christmas and Halloween (ladies and gentlemen: It’s canine Ken Bone!). But no matter how adorable you may think it all is, to buyers, it’s just clutter.
Make sure you stow pet paraphernalia in a cupboard or closet. Put dry food bins in a laundry or mud room. Wash pet beds to remove odors and dirt, and only display them if they’re attractive.
6. Say goodbye to your pets (just for a while!)
If you decide to leave your dogs or cats at home, either crate them or confine them to a special area of the house, and make sure your real estate agent knows where they are. Keep them busy with interactive toys or long-lasting treats, says Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, based in Livonia, MI.
“Even purchasing a new exciting toy or treat just prior to company coming may keep them more preoccupied,” he says.
But it’s best for everyone if you can find a playdate for your pet before a showing, or to send him to Grandma’s for an extended stay. But remember that pets have emotions, too—especially when it comes to change in their routines.
When you stow their toys, move their water bowl, or put them in a crate when strangers inspect their home, some pets will feel confused and anxious. So before making any major changes in the life of a dog or cat, talk to your veterinarian, who can help you ease your pet’s transition to a temporary new home.
By Andy Giegerich, Portland Business Journal
A national apartment search company has offered an intriguing look at the way Portland's skyline has changed since 2007.
The company, RENTCafé, offers this well-crafted then-and-now glimpse at the city's skyline over the last nine years. The company used Google Street images to make the contrasts in the rapidly changing Rose City.
The company's blog features looks at the blocks currently containing such projects as Twelve West, First & Main and Cyan.
The then-and-now blog is part of RENTCafé's efforts to bring apartment availability updates to the masses.
• There are few things in life that are as certain as taxes, especially when it comes to buying, selling and owning real estate. Property taxes have a timeline that is different than most other taxes or bills that we pay.
• Taxes become payable in October
• Taxes are due November 15 and may be paid in thirds
• If paying in installments, the final installment is due May 15
• July 1 is the beginning of the new fiscal year
Plans Move Forward on Office and Hotel Project That Will Clear Out the Lotus and Workmen Temple Buildings
By Jon Bell, Portland Business Journal
A 120-day demolition delay period has come and gone, and the developers behind a project that will add a 20-story hotel and a 10-story office building to a prime downtown property are moving ahead with their plans.
Those include deconstruction of two well-known, old-time buildings on the the property bounded by Southwest Second and Third avenues and Southwest Taylor and Southwest Salmon streets.
One, the Albion Hotel, is home to the Lotus Cardroom and Cafe, a storied bar and restaurant that has been open since the days of Prohibition. The other is the Ancient Order of United Workmen Temple, an old brick building that has been largely vacant save for some ground-floor retail operations for many years.
According to Pat McCormick of AM:PM PR, T&T Development, which includes Jeff Arthur of Arthur Mutal and Jack Onder of Onder Development, submitted applications on June 30 to begin deconstruction of both buildings. Once permits are issued, deconstruction of the Lotus building and environmental abatement work will begin approximately 45 days later. That property is where T&T will build its 20-story hotel.
About two or three months later, deconstruction on the Workmen Temple building and construction of the 175,000-square-foot office portion of the block will begin. The office building will include ground-floor retail, a rooftop terrace and two levels of underground parking.
When T&T announced that it would be tearing down the Workmen Temple building, local preservation group Restore Oregon filed an appeal with the state Land Use Board of Appeals, but the group withdrew that after T&T voluntarily agreed to a 120-day delay period that would give the buildings a reprieve until at least April 30.
In an earlier interview with the Business Journal, Arthur said T&T will make every effort to incorporate elements from each of the buildings, including the old bar from the Lotus, into the new development. Onder noted, too, that the current owner of the Lotus has expressed interest in being involved in the new development, either as the Lotus or possibly another restaurant or bar.
A notice posted on the Workmen Temple building at Southwest Third Avenue and Southwest Taylor Street notes that a meeting with the Design Commission is set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4. The meeting will address minor modifications to the roof area and bike parking.
By Jon Bell, Portland Business Journal
The lack of inventory in Portland's residential market is helping to push up not only home prices, but prospective buyers' frustration, as well.
The latest Market Action Report from the Regional Multiple Listing Serviceshows that the average sales price for a Portland home in April hit $397,700 — up from $385,100 in March and up from $347,500 in April 2015. The average time on market sunk to 43 days, and though inventory ticked up a slight bit in April over March, from a 1.3-month supply to 1.4 months, the lack of available homes continues to keep the market tight.
"More listings came on the market on a monthly basis starting in March, but the market is more intense than a year ago," said Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. "Interest rates are still unbelievably low, but buyers still struggling to find a home in this market are starting to feel the toll."
Other stats from the latest report show that new listings in April were up about 3.4 percent over April of last year. The month saw 4,082 new listings hit the market; at present there are 3,721 active listings in the metro region.
Both closed and pending sales in April were down a bit over last year, as well.
“It’s all about buyer frustration and the power of the back-up offer," said Israel Hill, managing broker with John L. Scott Portland Northeast. "With continued limited inventory and neighborhoods near job centers virtually sold out, we are closely monitoring buyer frustration. After losing out in a number of bidding wars, buyers may find that they cannot stomach another disappointment of not getting their home."
On the other hand, Hill said, some buyers who are winning the bidding wars have experienced sticker shock when they realize just what they've gotten themselves into. That's led more than a few to bail out of transactions, giving other buyers another shot.
"Many buyers are backing out after the dust settles, and this gives those backup buyers a second chance," he said. "Don't be afraid of second place if you’re a buyer."
Portland Business Journal
Windermere Real Estate chief economist Matthew Gardner kicked off his discussion at Windermere Stellar’s 2016 Launch Meeting in Portland last week with a loaded question. Is the economy going to be better this year?
His quick response: Yes. And here's why.
With new jobs being so tied to housing, this is a biggie. We took our time in Oregon catching up with other markets but we’re finally there. While the creation of new jobs has declined slightly, it’s still looking good in all areas except for finance and construction, which have seen lackluster growth.
A lack of construction jobs means that building is more expensive. But it will get better. “The big story in 2016? Builders will break ground a lot,” said Gardner.
Markets that rely strongly on the growth of one company or industry can be quickly devastated if something unfortunate occurs for that industry. The good news is that there aren’t any “clouds on the horizon” for the big Portland companies like Nike and Intel.
Because of its election year status, 2016 will experience a somewhat flat economy. While inflation will rise modestly in 2016, Gardner reminds us that “politicians don’t want anything major to happen during election years. But political times always bring some uncertainty.”
But what about the housing market specifically?
Supply Will Remain Low
The low inventory we’re experiencing isn’t going to change anytime soon. “We’ve seen a modest increase in sales; however, we haven’t got the homes for sale that we need,” Gardner cautioned. What Gardner is worried about is the spread between the number of listings and sales. A slight increase in listings will occur, but unfortunately demand will outstrip what’s available.
Living Farther Out
Low supply means that people will be driving more. Being priced out of the closer-in areas, we’ll see people living as far away as Salem and commuting into Portland every day. With affordability being found in Yamhill and Marion counties, more development will occur farther out.
Slight Rise in Mortgage Rates
“I promise you that mortgage rates will go up, but not much, possibly to 4.5 percent,” Gardner said. “This just creates a psychological barrier. But not to worry, we still bought when rates were 18 percent.”
Healthy Decline in Price Increases
Gardner points out that according to the Case Shiller Index, we’re past the historic peak in price growth, which he believes is good. This slow-down won’t represent a value collapse; instead it’ll be a healthy decline of the price increases we’re currently seeing.
Millennials — the renter generation?
We “blame the Millennials” for our real estate market woes and ask why they aren’t in the housing market yet. It’s true that they’re having a harder time qualifying for a mortgage, their down payments aren’t readily available and as a generation they are less stable. But Gardner believes that they will buy in time.
“Rents are getting to be too damn much! Millennials inherently believe that owning a home is the most astute financial decision they will ever make,” Gardner said.
As the older millennials turn 30, they are getting married and wanting to settle down in homeownership. Safety, size and schooling are their big considerations, but Gardner pointed out that “they don’t want to become like the older generations — yet.”
In summary, the Oregon real estate market will do well in 2016. There will still be more buyers than sellers, pricing growth will slow — but in a positive, healthy way — and more building will happen but it will be farther away from Portland’s city center.
Brian Allen is co-owner and president of Windermere Stellar.