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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 7, 2006 12:31 PM. The previous post in this blog was Blood and guts at Soil and Water. The next post in this blog is Warning. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

It's $6-a-pound asparagus! We're saved!

This month's Portland Hollywood Star gets uncharacteristically breathless in singing the praises of a new apartment complex that's going to go on the Washington Mutual branch block at NE Sandy Boulevard and 43rd Avenue. The sales ploy being used to market the project to the neighborhood centers on the developer's "plan" to have a Whole Foods store as part of 44,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. The Star takes the bait, announcing that this is "[t]he long-hoped-for arrival of another grocery in Hollywood."

Usually the monthly takes a hands-off tone in discussing these deals, and its failure to do so in this case is puzzling. Buried way down in the story is the fact that there will be two floors of parking above the store, plus 46 apartments, "some" of which will be "designated as 'affordable.'" (Nobody has asked exactly what that means -- it could be two $850-a-month studio apartments, for all we know.)

To neighbors in closer-in Northeast, the grocery store promise strikes a bitter chord. That's the same ticket that was used to sell the condo mostrosity that they built at NE 16th and Weidler. It was going to have a big Zupan's at street level. But guess what? The Zupan deal fell through, and what we got was an ugly condo block, a weird bank branch, lots of empty retail space, and the coldest, most unfriendly facade of any building built in a Portland neighborhood in decades.

Before they rejoice too exuberantly, the folks in Hollywood had better be sure their wonderful store is a 100 percent certainty. Because to the developer, Gerding-Edlen, it's really all about the apartments.

Other aspects of the project might make for some more interesting reading. It's a few blocks from the Hollywood MAX station, and so I assume there are tax breaks involved, for "transit-oriented development." The loss of the Washington Mutual parking lot on Saturdays could make life tough for the merchants and shoppers at the popular Hollywood Farmers Market. (The bank has generally looked the other way when market-goers use its ample parking.)

And somebody had better dig up some money to put a traffic signal at 44th and Sandy. It's a tempting place to try to cross that busy boulevard, and an easy place to get yourself killed by a speeding vehicle. You put 46 apartments on that corner, and you're going to need a light.

Comments (17)

P.S. There's already a Trader Joe's across the street.

The Star also had a bit about Petco going in the space where Zupan's was supposed to open on Broadway.

Great -- let's kill off the mom and pop pet store at 28th and Broadway after they just expanded. Thanks again, developers!

Not to mention the pet store at 18th and Broadway....

I wouldn't worry too much about the mom-and-pop pet store--that part of town is fairly liberal/lefty, and PetCo is regarded as a bit of a "bad actor" to many progressives. (Various issues, mostly surrounding their possible turning-a-blind-eye-to-backyard-breeders.) Note to the lawyers: I'm not saying they do, just that many pet advocates believe that they do.

As for the grocery store, Whole Foods DOES show a site on "NE Sandy Blvd." in their list of future stores, so it is at least something they are planning on.

As for the building @ 16th and Broadway (which I have to drive past whenever I visit my folks in Irvington)...yeesh! What a stinker! I wonder if anyone who pre-ordered a condo--while Zupans was still being promised--has tried to get out of their deal? What a lousy building that turned out to be, and on prime real-estate, no less. How unfortunate.

And my realtor friends tell me it leaks like a sieve.

The people who live just north of Broadway on 39th are going to be ticked--everyone coming from the south, north, or west is going to take their side streets to get to that store, given the fact that you can't turn left from Sandy. That area is already a traffic nightmare (relative to Portland)--I don't want to think about what happens when you throw 300 yuppies looking for quality dry-aged manchego into the mix.

It would be more than just 39th. Every street from 33rd to 43rd south of Knott would probably be impacted -- Knott, too. I know the city's been talking traffic improvements on Sandy. I hope there are some left turns (with dedicated lanes and turn arrows) going in.

Dave J.-

You seem to know your way around the cheese aisle. I'd tell you not to throw stones, but you already have an armful of brie, crackers and (f-ing) Merlot.

I'll just give THREE CHEERS for the Hollywood Star. That little newspaper is the best source of neighborhood news around. From land use issues to new business announcements, it's the best. And they really know how to sell those ads!

I just wish Troutdale had a neighborhood newspaper this good, instead of the Nickle Ads a.k.a. The Gorge Connection.

""""I know the city's been talking traffic improvements on Sandy""""


Huh? All I ever hear about is traffic calming, boulevard making, streetscapes, bubble curbs, islands, lane reductions and ped/bikle improvements.

I know someone that had a pre-order on the 1620 building on Broadway, but he pulled out when things started going bad. He was able to get out...

I hear they have had ~14 units available since they opened and they can't sell them....

I think Whole Foods has been planning on a Hollywood location for a couple years now. It's worth noting that they have a history of creating adequate parking.

That area does need a major traffic overhaul. They dump you off the freeway into a light almost immediately and it's a pain winding your way onto Sandy from there. But they could also use a grocery store. I think the closest is QFC. Trader Joe's doesn't really count.

I am thinking about opening a Super Bronzing Shop and not just for baby shoes as I see a need for Oregonians to remember things like Mom and Pop biz folks, log trucks and OSP patrol cars to name a few.

"Trader Joes doesn't really count".

I strongly disagree with your comment. Trader Joes happens to be one of the best things that has happened to the Hollywood area. It is not only AFFORDABLE but offers everything from shampoo to fresh veggies, beautiful fresh flowers, a great variety of cheeses and great customer service. Freddys and SatanWays prices are often 2 times more expensive for some of the same items.

It is not only AFFORDABLE but offers everything from shampoo to fresh veggies, beautiful fresh flowers, a great variety of cheeses and great customer service.

Agreed. Now, if we could only address THAT parking lot...

Are you sure that is a parking lot? I thought it was an accident lot.


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