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gerry

Very strange. I would have thought the developers and the church were dependant on getting the 50+ million or so that selling condos upfront would have brought in.

All along, the church and developers claimed their arrangement hinged on the profits from selling a tower-full of condos. The developers' insistence on the scale the project demanded seems to have been exaggerated if they can go ahead regardless of lack of sales. Maybe the hastily-determined prerequisite of a demolished Rosefriend Apartments was b.s. as well. It is to wonder.

I predict 1st Christian will end up with nothing remotely close to the results they were promised on this.

thedude

The only thing the church wants is parking. Destorying two historic buildings or eliminating low rent housing options never challenged their morals at any point in the process. As one of the members said "were in the business of saving souls not buildings" Parking is the one and only issue for 1st Christian.

nwjg

I don't know any more than you all but I would guess it went something like this:

1. The recent cap rate compression and increasing income from apartments made an apartment building worth close to as much as a condo building.
2. When Opus brought John Carroll in to help them figure out the whole "condo thing" their agreement hinged on it going forward as a condo project.
3. Looking at the prospect of making half of the profits from a condo building or ALL of the profits from an apartment building the apartments looked even better to OPUS...especially since they now know most of what Carroll could teach them. Heck, if the apartment profit was forcast to be 55% of the condo profits this still seems like a good deal for OPUS.

ws

I surely don't know as much about the business factors going into Ladd Towers changing status as I'd like but others have been factoring in the condo vs apartment situation similar to nwig. I suppose that this, from the business world's point of view, warrants the change of plans.

From my point of view as not much of a businessperson, the whole situation surrounding the pending destruction of the Rosefriend Apartment Building is so unfortunate, that this recent development seems of entirely secondary consideration.

It's distressing to be told that the need for a parking lot could reduce a church to the act of sacrificing so much in the way of ideals and principle for such common, worldly concerns. If it has any conscience remaining after being unwise enough to commission the project in the first place, let them draw on what remains of that conscience to do something better for themselves and the city that has hosted it for 100 plus years.

truth

Oh please. get off of it WS. it's happening, deal with it. the rosefriends ain't nothing special.

Apartments are a better investment for Opus. Done.
Carroll deals with condos and has no desire to run an apartment building. gone.

the market changes, it's the reality of investments. opus builds "luxury apartments" and converts to condos at the next turn, heaven forbid someone looks out for their bottom line. No instead the should lose money for the sake of "what's good for the city", who's decision is that, the lying politicians at city council, sure?

Why should the church sacrifice what they need? It's their property, if i'm correct?

Try telling New Yorkers to stop development along central park, it's called "prime real estate".
Perhaps workforce housing in the Rosefriend...

truth

Oh please. get off of it WS. it's happening, deal with it. the rosefriends ain't nothing special.

Apartments are a better investment for Opus. Done.
Carroll deals with condos and has no desire to run an apartment building. gone.

the market changes, it's the reality of investments. opus builds "luxury apartments" and converts to condos at the next turn, heaven forbid someone looks out for their bottom line. No instead the should lose money for the sake of "what's good for the city", who's decision is that, the lying politicians at city council, sure?

Why should the church sacrifice what they need? It's their property, if i'm correct?

Try telling New Yorkers to stop development along central park, it's called "prime real estate".
Perhaps workforce housing in the Rosefriend...

truth

sorry for ther double post.

Peggy MacDonald

I will miss the Rose Friend Apts.

Tsarevna

Why should the church sacrifice what it needs?
It already HAS, 100 years ago! It decided that an apartment complex could be built in it's yard, that it didn't need the space. It's too late to change their minds now, because a beautiful, historic facility that is now people's HOMES stands there now. Parking? Who needs it, there's a streetcar 1 block away, take it or walk to church.
The church I live next to ran out of parking years ago, and now they pick up their elderly members in shuttles so the don't have to walk. The rest can.
There are plenty of other sites in portland for condos, waterfront space where ships were built, that lot by the police station...
The church wants to sell out the low-income people living in the Rosefriend for PARKING. It's sick.

The church vultures can cry me a river.

Richard

I just want to say that I appreciate anyone who's still willing to take the time to point out how wrong, on so many levels, First Christian Church is in destroying the Rosefriend Apartments. This particular act of greed-inspired destruction seems inevitable at this point, but it's not something we should avert our eyes from or forget.

We shouldn't "move on" from the Rosefriend destruction, except in the sense of waking up to what it might portend for other fine old buildings in Portland. There's a great private will to build things in Portland right now, but I don't see a countervailing public desire and ability to protect the best buildings we already have. I look around downtown with the Rosefriend destruction in mind, and my overwhelming emotions are disgust and worry. Disgust because with all the surface parking lots, parking garages, and other ugly or architecturally insignificant buildings--all these potential building sites in need of improvement--the Rosefriend is being sacrificed for another apartment/condo tower. Worry because so many other handsome and useful old buildings are no more safe from destruction in the future than the Rosefriend is now.

As for the remarks above of the self-styled realist and B.S.-cutter who calls himself/herself "truth": how depressing, and how perfectly emblematic of the emotionally impoverished way of thinking that lies behind the destruction of the Rosefriend.

Tsarevna

Why should the church sacrifice what it needs?
It already HAS, 100 years ago! It decided that an apartment complex could be built in it's yard, that it didn't need the space. It's too late to change their minds now, because a beautiful, historic facility that is now people's HOMES stands there now. Parking? Who needs it, there's a streetcar 1 block away, take it or walk to church.
The church I live next to ran out of parking years ago, and now they pick up their elderly members in shuttles so the don't have to walk. The rest can.
There are plenty of other sites in portland for condos, waterfront space where ships were built, that lot by the police station...
The church wants to sell out the low-income people living in the Rosefriend for PARKING. It's sick.

The church vultures can cry me a river.

brian

Yes, the deal is done, but has a lesson been learned from this? To be honest, I didn't hear any public outcry about the Rosefriend until last year, even though the plans to tear it down had been in the works since the early planning stages. I guess everybody was more concerned about the Ladd Carriage House.

Is the Rosefriend actually historically significant, or simply a handsome building (I believe the interior was not so handsome). Was anyone paying attention?

Does, or can the city play a role in situations like this? Is it possible to make it more difficult to tear down structures such as the Rosefriend, - even though the structures have not been deemed a historical landmark.

brian

Yes, the deal is done, but has a lesson been learned from this? To be honest, I didn't hear any public outcry about the Rosefriend until last year, even though the plans to tear it down had been in the works since the early planning stages. I guess everybody was more concerned about the Ladd Carriage House.

Is the Rosefriend actually historically significant, or simply a handsome building (I believe the interior was not so handsome). Was anyone paying attention?

Does, or can the city play a role in situations like this? Is it possible to make it more difficult to tear down structures such as the Rosefriend, - even though the structures have not been deemed a historical landmark.

ws

Central Park is 400 acres. Portland Park Blocks (each 100' by 200'), about 10 of them not counting those in the PSU campus, comprise a total of about 200,000 sq ft., to total 5 acres. (43,560 sq ft/acre) That makes Central Park 80 times greater in size than all the Park Blocks put together. To many people this very modest size alone, given its relationship to the city, qualifies the Park Blocks as a very precious resource.

The comparatively smaller size of the Portland Park Blocks relative to Central Park should underscore the importance of sustaining the integrity of the Park Block ambience and general experience. For the people, the city should be taking greater measures to insure that these attributes of the Park Blocks will be sustained.

Church and developer never voluntarily made the slightest effort to aspire to anything greater than a cash cow that could take advantage of the immediate real estate market.

I don't know what all kinds of development are happening around Central Park. Comparatively speaking, it's perimeter is far, far greater than the Park Blocks. Some of the architecture around Central Park's architecture is very good, and likely, related to that of the Rosefriend.

So sure, church and developer, jumped the hoops, and they'll probably get their demo permit and some kind of business plan together that will let them get their glass box up where people will have to look at it for the the next 50-100 years.

They made no effort to conceive of a design that would leave a positive legacy to the city in addition to covering their bottom line. Apartments or condos? Interesting, but of not much importance here. Carroll probably got smart and realized this project sucked so much that he'd better minimize as much association of his name with it as possible.

In the end, this tower will just be an unimaginative, obnoxious structure that destroyed distinguished, well proportioned architecture for a pathetic reason. One that relentlessly confronts visitors to the park with a long shadow and shiny glass instead of the sun and sky that have been and should continue to be among the Park Block's key features for generations to come.


truth

Wow, drunk blogging late on a Friday night, stirs things up...is that legal here Brian?

The developers must have made some attempt at "leaving a positive legacy" by allowing the Ladd Carriage House to remain. If I am correct it was originally slated for destruction.
Most development requires compromise, from both sides.
As for the argument that is always made about all the empty parking lots, parking garages and insignificant architectural buildings that would be better locations for whichever development is being fought...wonderful idea, but extremely unrealistic, and in my opinion a very naive argument at that.

Tsarevna, the RoseFriends was not "low-income" housing. It may have been inexpensive rent, probably because it was old and not in great condition, but it was not public subsidized housing. And renting always leaves the possibilty that you may be kicked out. Would it have been OK to convert it to condos and kick out the renters anyway? Because that's probably what would have happened if it remained. As for the Church deciding 100 years ago to build the apartments, and that it's too late now! So they give up all the rights to their property? Things change a whole lot in 100yrs.

Perhaps the church should have torn it all down and provided a surface parking lot, so as not to block any views or create any shadows.

Richard, that's for the compliments. You must be such a better person than me.

And WS, don't forget to preface your comments like "this tower will just be an unimaginative, obnoxious structure" with IN MY OPINION. Because that's all it is. And if you reread the original post the whole condo/apartment conversion was the point!

gerry

WS's "this tower will just be an unimaginative, obnoxious structure" is more than an opinion, whether or not shouted in capital letters: what it is, is an entirely reasonable prediction. I witnessed the developers' attitude during the design review hearing, wherein they actually had the gall to credit their project with rescuing the church itself from demolition. It was ludicrous. The treatment of the Rosefriend, and the people to whom it was home, is an embarrassment to those of us whose ability to think isn't confined to an obsession with "property rights."

ws

The Carriage House has had its devotees for a long time. Lacking the availability of its long term present home, others awaited it. I've heard that keeping he CH in its present location makes a nice tax writeoff for somebody.

Does government have a copyright on the term "low-income housing"? Doubt it. According to HUD's formula, low income for Portland is 60% of the median family income($46,850/fam of 1)

At this URL:

http://www.portlandonline.com
/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=106242

...a chart says the fair market rent for a 2 bdr apt in 2006 was $723. Actually, I don't understand the charts at that URL very well, so maybe somebody else can do better there.

Can't remember for sure, but I think the most expensive apartment at the Rosefriend was $600/mo. It's over on portlandindymedia archives.

I pretty much assumed people who'd been able to afford the Rosefriend would have no chance in the new condo. Ideally, some arrangement would have been made to provide similarly affordable housing in the area to replace that lost with the Ladd project. If the Rosefriend had been refurbished making it cost prohibitive to offer low or moderate income housing in it, yes I think it might have been reasonable to price the apts/condos for at least some, maybe only people with higher incomes to allow it to pencil out as long as lost low-moderate income housing was in fact replaced in the area.

I believe the rents for the new tower will be around $2000/mo. Likely, $2.40 sq/ft according to the following article: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/business
/1174620336129490.xml&coll=7

truth

So is this all about saving a "historic" building, or preserving "low income" housing?

Or just some people's inability to handle change?

And, I do believe that a "reasonable prediction" based on subjective interpretations would still be considered AN OPINION.

And although the government may not have a copyright on the term "low income housing" it definetly has connotations, which pull at the heart strings, which has great influence and is somewhat biased.

But, keep fighting for what you think is right.

truth

Socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Capitalism: an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

ws

Nice defs. What are they? Websters? Thing is, we live in one of the countries where every aspect of life isn't dictated by one individual, one set of rules, procedure, and so on. Life here is a complex balancing act involving lots interaction, question, custom, traditon, etc.

Church and developer are playing this project legal. If that was all their was to it, there'd be no problem. In a dictatorial regime, there probably wouldn't be any objection to a church and developers actions in a situation like the Ladd project.

Since we don't live under a dictatorial regime...yet...in the case of the Ladd project, the First Christian Church and the developer, even though they're doing everything legal with the project, are still subject to the idiosyncratic liberties that go along with a situation where individuals and groups may exercise their freedom in taking action they believe meets the definition of creating and sustaining the high quality of life citizens in this country believe is rightfully theirs.

The market isn't the only arbiter of right from wrong here. It only decides what' neccessary to cover its bottom line. For people, citizens of this city and this country, we've got a better deal going on.

I don't see fighting going on here. The situation doesn't call for fighting. This situation just asks of people to exercise their mind, spirit, freedom and speak out against the natural force of market pressure that could completely determine the character of their community if they didn't do so.

Low-income, poor, relatively poor, however its called, is not much money in your pocket to pay rent or anything else. Part of the Rosefriend isssue and downtown housing in general has been about a potentially gradual displacement of low and moderate income residents from downtown and more immediately, the Park Blocks. Personally, I don't think that's right regardless of what the rental or condo market says to the contrary.

truth

"idiosyncratic liberties" ... interesting, sounds rather subjective, exercise your freedoms all you want, write your blogs, appeal the decisions,
just realize that those developers or property owners can exercise their own rights as well.

"sustaining the high quality of life"...as long as those people agree with your definition.

Oh, and the shot on my definitions, ouch, that really hurt. But if you need to know they come from the Oxford American Dictionary as provided on my Mac. My point is that our society is actually neither, but somewhat of a compromise. The community get's their say, through elected officials, who create codes and allow for appeals, developers and property owners then do what they can as allowed by that code, created by the community.

So what else are doing to "speak out against the natural force of market pressure," besides blogging. Because all this just sounds like whining to me.

gerry

Speaking of definitions:
Whining: the comments of anyone who's not a developer or a member of the Cascade Policy Institute.

truth

Actually Gerry, Oxford says this...

Whine:
• a long, high-pitched complaining cry
• a long, high-pitched unpleasant sound
• a complaining tone of voice.
• a feeble or petulant complaint

I thought the last one was most relevant.

Bill

Besides the historical preservationist argument, tearing perfectly nice buildings out of the city center is also a lost opportunity for everyone: there are tons of parking lots and crappy buildings - many of them 1 story - downtown that aren't helping to create a vibrant or active urban environment.

These are great opportunities for reinvestment that should be redeveloped. Tearing down an existing building - particularly low income housing - to simply build again is a bit of wasted effort: we could have built some luxury condos a block or two away on an empty lot, and we could have the parking, condos, AND low income housing. It would have been a win-win-WIN!

Instead... lack of creativity (gotta love them bean counters, eh?) drives the efforts to build our city.

We really need both inspired citizenry and some really creative architects (who are also budget-minded) to help build things, because there seems to be a lot of wasted energy and effort.

So, I'll sum up the idea:

BUILD ON PARKING LOTS FIRST!

truth

Bill, let us in on how someone is supposed to build on property they don't own, and that isn't for sale. Ask nicely, or just start digging? There's an empty lot down the street from mine, and I need a garage and a second bedroom.

As I said it's a wonderful idea, but not very realistic.

Richard

"not very realistic"

There are many ways--e.g., zoning restrictions, historic- preservation incentives and proscriptions, extra taxes on undeveloped downtown land, selective purchases and land swaps, height restrictions--that a community, through its government, can steer development to land most in need of it and away from places that the community wants to preserve.

Are you just playing devil's advocate, "truth," or do you sincerely think that you're the only one commenting on the Rosefriend issue who is being realistic? If you simply believe that a person who owns a piece of land or a building should be able to do whatever he wants with it, then just come out and say that, and expose your point of view for what it really is. But don't pretend that you've never heard of land use restrictions and planning.

Many people have proposed many realistic ways in which the First Christian Church could have met its parking and building needs without resorting to tearing down the Rosefriend. First Christian's possession of valuable land surrounding the church building gave it a lot of leeway and bargaining power. The course it chose seems inevitable and perfectly "realistic" only if you think it was obliged to maximize its profits, which isn't usually how a church defines its mission.

ws

Back to considering the switch from condo proposal to apts. The prevailing thought attributes the switch to a low cycle in the condo market. Does anybody know who the developers get their money from? The lender's feeling about the market must be a big determining factor in which way developers go in a situation like this.

Carroll, Opus, or the two together probably doesn't have, or wouldn't build the tower project with their all their own money would they? Moyer might able to do something like that, but the former? I seem to remember this tower is about a $200 million dollar project.

truth

Yes, I have heard of land use restrictions...just haven't heard of any actually associated with this current piece of property. Which is my point.

If you want to propose new legislation, and changes to the zoning code go ahead, but don't berate the current owners for following the rules or codes that govern their property.

" If you simply believe that a person who owns a piece of land or a building should be able to do whatever he wants with it, then just come out and say that, and expose your point of view for what it really is".. if that was my viewpoint, I'd have no problem stating it. But it's not, my viewpoint is that there are current codes that must be followed, thus not allowing a property owner to do "whatever they want," and it seems to me they are following those rules, which includes design review approval.

I think everyone here has valid concerns, I just don't think directing them at this development is appropriate.

But I also believe that some of the proposals you suggest, like getting the city to apply double taxes to all the Goodman's empty parking lots to force development, opens up the city to serious litigation, not to mention the politics involved. To me it's about spending your time and resources wisely. And in my opinion fighting an argument that can't be won isn't wise.

"Many people have proposed many realistic ways in which the First Christian Church could have met its parking and building needs without resorting to tearing down the Rosefriend."... which ones were those?

Now I think that's enough from me. Good luck in your efforts.

nwjg

ws,

OPUS is a $1.4 billion national real estate development company, has been building for nearly 55 years. They have 1,600 employees in 28 offices throughout North America. To date, Opus has completed 2,300 projects totaling 227 million square feet and has 35 million square feet of projects planned or under development across the country.

They could build "out of pocket" but I HIGHLY doubt they would consider it for a minute. Carrol is a small local guy who probably does not have the money to go without financing even if he wanted to.

nwjg

Another possible factor...

If OPUS builds apartments instead of condos and holds onto them for a couple years they could sell the building and complete an IRC 1031 exchange and possibly avoid the punitive Multnomah Co. & City of Portland combined 3.65% business license tax. If profit on the building is $50 million that is $1.85 million, a lot of money in anyone's book. Especially on top of the 9% state and the 35% federal rate which makes the total over 47% or almost $24 million. That would leave over about $26 million to re-invest. Even if the apartment sale yields less than condos they might be better off in the long run. They also avoid the risk of condo defect litigation in the future.

Randy

The comment above explains why there is such a struggle for capital to find a home in Oregon, Portland in particular. We are not competitive for investment.

Many people struggle here. We are both the least expensive real estate market on the west coast AND one of the least affordable. We need major changes in tax structure, government, etc., to be efficient and competitive.

ws

Thanks for the figures, nwig.

Bill

Interesting, but I've heard the cost of mold insurance has grown by a factor of 10 in the past few years. I was given a figure for a highrise of around $1.6 million... another major deterrence to affordable housing.

costs, costs, costs!

nwjg

It is not just mold Bill, it is water intrusion in any form, also, sound is a big source of law suits right now. In California there are a few lawyers working on smells--from neighbors who cook Indian food, smoke cigarettes, etc.

Condo developers are targets and the liability is high. Developers are on the hook for 10 years in Oregon. I think it is 6 in Washington.

ws

Suits related to smells from things such as Indian food? I suppose condo owners theorize, imagine or have reason to believe a developer didn't have unit ventilation or exhaust fans adequately designed and installed.

Mold can be nasty. With so many people living so close to each other, building's have got to be built with more attention to certain things than a cabin in the woods does. Infiltration of the elements or the activities of a neighbor into a living unit, or poor design and construction that invites the occurrence of health issues are important to avoid if possible. There's probably no way to get around expenses related to that.

Any thoughts on what if any significance Pastor Rex Loy's use of church money for his gaming pursuits might have to development of the Ladd Tower?

Rob

Some seem very matter of fact about the changes in the Ladd (truth?), but I for one wonder about the ethics and legality of Opus just up and changing direction. The way I heard it, the pre-paid purchasers (around 60) had a written agreement with Opus that if enough units didn't sell by May 31, 2007 then the deal COULD be called off. Nothing was written in to the agreements about anytime sooner, or about any other "economics" bein the deciding factor. These are 60 contracts that OPUS has with purchasers. Doesn't that seem strange (if not something that could go to court?).

Sure, it seems you can't make someone build a building, BUT these are contracts. People put their money down, and had written agreements.

I don't think this bodes well for the other OPUS proeject supposedly coming up -- the Burnside Bridgehead. Watch out City of Portland and PDC. This could be changed in mid-stream for "market reasons."

Mike C

The ambitious pastor of First Christian Church, who pushed this project from the start, has now been fired for gambling with church funds. Now that the condos will be rentals, there's a question whether the whole project has stalled -- maybe stopped. Meanwhile the Rosefriend stands empty, but not yet demolished. So -- everything's back on the table again, including convincing the church to save all three historic structures on this block, and preserve affordable housing, too. There's an open meeting of the Friends of the Ladd Carriage House this coming Monday, and these issues will be raised. Show up and make a difference.

ws

"There's an open meeting of the Friends of the Ladd Carriage House this coming Monday, and these issues will be raised. Show up and make a difference." Mike C

Mike....time and location for the meeting. I did a search but didn't find a website to be able to check.

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