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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Old Town ex-Port

The plan to move the Port of Portland headquarters out of Old Town and out to the airport is moving right along. Now they're selling their Old Town building and leasing it back for a short term while they build the new thing out at the airport.

The Old Town building, which they say cost $20 million to build in 1999, was sold for $29 million. With the lease back, it's not certain exactly how much was paid for what. To make matters cloudier, one published report sets out some screwy math on the deal. It's reported that the stated price works out to $160 per square foot, but the same story says the price is $29.2 million and there is 160,000 square feet of space. On my calculator, that works out to $182.50 per square foot.

The proud new owners are these guys.

The new Port headquarters, including a parking garage underneath, will cost $252 million, probably close to $100 million of which will be attributable to the new offices. Which begs one question: If the Port was getting by on headquarters that were worth only $29 million, why do they need to build a new one for three or four times that amount? Plus, it's at the airport, which severely limits its usefulness to any other potential owner. I guess part of the deal is to save some face for the Port and the city, now that the grand and expensive "urban renewal" plan for that area turned out to be nothing more than an Ikea with a mini-Jantzen Beach Shopping Center attached -- nothing that couldn't have been built if market forces had been left alone.

And who will do the construction? Do we even need to ask? The official construction company of the Goldschmidt Network, of course. Drinks all around at the Arlington Club, boys!

Comments (18)

I remember when my friend's mom worked for the port in the mid 90's... they leased space in one of the Lloyd district (nondescript) office buildings along the Max line. Couldn't have been much but it was presentable.

So, that means at least three moves in 10+ years? That begs a couple of questions... Have operations grown THAT much in that short period of time? What about the costs associated with those moves? Considering the Port's business down on the docks has declined since then, should they be rewarding /saddling themselves with more office space and debt?

What is interesting to look at also is the deal you reported on for the County to buy that old building for $44 million. How does a building like that appreciate from $11million to $44 million and the port building so slowly.

IIRC the Port's HQ was out by the airport back in the 70s.

Swimmer, I'd love to see the appraisals on both those buildings. It would make an interesting comparison.

Zeb, I think you are right. You wonder why they moved to Old Town in the first place. At least the construction boys are happy.

I looked into getting what is called a "Proximity Permit" from the POP about 6 years ago, when I was new to the cabbie game here.

They wanted literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars in various permits and fees, all kinds of stuff, it was really amazing. I was expected to pay for a background check that included a per county surcharge for everywhere I had ever lived, I had to pay $65 for my own urine test despite the fact that my urine test results from one week prior were already on file, it went on and on.

It was so ridiculous, I just walked away. So did the rest of us. Our customers sit there for hours and hours, eventually choosing between crime-ridden MAX and the low-rent Airport cabbie thieves.

Back in Austin, $12 covered the entire City Taxi permit for two years, and this included the right to pick people up at the Airport. About one thirtieth (you read that correctly) of Portland's annual Taxi permit and Mult-Co business permit combined, before the aforementioned fees for PDX privileges, the ones that I hear forbid the poor fools out there from moving more than arms' length from their vehicles at all times, for hours on end.

Before our exorbitant local taxes on small businesses are figured in, too.

They are swimming in money, from what I have observed. No wonder they feel entitled to fancy new digs.

When are the people who pay the goddamn taxes in this city going to storm the Citadel, huh ? What will be that proverbial straw ?

Did you notice that the new owner also provided financing for the Civic Condo.

Some typical fat cat movers and shakers are making out like bandits on this and the high paid Port heriarchy, Bill Wyatt and company is among them.
Yes where did the $29 million price come from? Who's connected and gets the sales fee, the windfall purchase, the consultant fees and the insider paybacks?
Usual suspects and their families living large for sure.

This new venture is a $252 million parking garage and Port Headquaters and a $137 million baggage screening system.
Hoffman gets the Parking Garage and Headquarters contract while Walsh gets the baggage screening.

BUT listen up, the Port is about to embark on a similar deal to the giving away of our drydocks and shipyards.

The Port has been bragging latetly about a $51 million dollar profit. Aided by a $21 million insurance settlement on the Marine side.
If the port is profiting that much the public is paying too much to park and other services.

But most curious, or alarming is the Port's reaction to the Marine division's expected $5.1 million dollar loss this year.
After pushing the Columbia River dredging as vital to the Port and buying new Terminal cranes the Port commissioners will start discussing leasing Terminal 6 to a private party.

If they handle that like the drydocks/shipyards sham the taxpayers around here take yet another beating while the "important" people get even more important.

On another note. We never heard how the Port's waived landing fees and guaranteed minimum seat purchases to Mexicana, Luftanza and Northwest for direct international flights worked out.
Is the local taxpayer also needleesly subsidizing another sham to make the Port appear successful?

All of this is quite similar to the MO of the PDC with no accounting for anything ever provided.
And never any answers.
It's full time self promoting at taxpayer expense.

"Which begs one question"

This is one of the ways government grows, Jack. Another is by spending millions on a solution to a problem that purposely creates an even more expensive problem that government must spend billions to solve (see Anna Griffin's article on Randal O'Toole and density's creation of the affordable housing problem and how it sucks money from basic services.)

It's a wonderful, never-ending, self-feeding cycle. Unless you'd like to keep some of your money.

$180/sqft is on the cheap side for class A downtown buildings, but they wanted out and they wanted a buyer, so they got their wish. All those fees are working though, they had something like a $50M revenue surplus.

Must be all the PR work by Tom Imeson (that feels good having one of Neil's hey-boys up that high in PoP). So the beat goes on.

Tom Imeson
Public Affairs

Of Goldscmidt, Imeson and Carter.

The fixes are always in.
Nuff said.

And Goldschmidt protector Ted Kulongoski "proudly" appointed Imeson, who was Governor Goldschmidt's cheif of staff prior to partnering with him as consultants.


Following up on swimmer's comment, the county was going to pay $44 million for the Lincoln Building, which has 256,000 square feet. That's $171/SF, more or less in line with what the Port's selling its headquarters for.

$ Busting Up the Boys Club?

The Lincoln building would require an estimated $23 million in seismic upgrades and other improvements, bringing the total price to $67 million.

The Port building is only 6 years old.

"Tom Imeson
Public Affairs"

Imeson and also Kantor (Prez of some public utility Goldy & Sten tried to take private with PERS money) are basically Goldy's little political pawns.

What, exactly, qualifies them to be CEO of anything? Oh, yes, I know that they were Chief of Staff and PR flak, respectively, for Goldy. But what else did they do in real life? What executive experience did they have in the private sector? (Being appointed Sr VP of the same utility by Goldy cronies is more like a poitical appt than a real job.)

Portland and Oregon have many more successful achievers than just exGoldy water boys. Why does Portland have to settle for the Rapist's drivers, go-fers and yes-men?

This whole thing smells. The Port of Portland is just like TriMet, another public agency that has virtually no accountability to the public. All the Board members are political appointees; and the various executives are hand chosen based upon past deals.

TriMet, Metro, and PoP have discovered that ridership of the airport MAX is not meeting expectation. Ridership is mostly employees at the airport. By moving PoP out to the airport the numbers can be increased and the Cascade Station can have more public employees eating lunch and using other services to make Cascade Station become somewhat viable. It is government serving government-makes all look better. Free enterprise doesn't work, you see.

Hey Jack:

If you were to start this city in the right direction... IE "The Basics" of goverment, how would you do it?

Would you as Mayor say to Homer Williams, "Not today, got to check on Sam, and see if he filled the potholes out in Lents!"

Would you tell Randy he has better things to do beside worry about tape on the sidewalk during "Rose Festival".

Can a mayor in this city ever get elected by running on such a platform?

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