MEPT, PHK Development Plan Portland-Area Mixed-Use Project

Multi-Employer Property Trust has formed a joint venture with PHK Development Inc. and will build a mixed-use multi-family project in Lake Oswego, Ore.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Bentall KennedyMulti-Employer Property Trust has formed a joint venture with PHK Development Inc. and together, the partners will build a $103 million, mixed-use multi-family project in Lake Oswego, Ore., less than 10 miles outside Portland.

The upscale development will sprout up downtown at Block 137, also known as the Wizer Block, a site carrying the address of 330 1st St. Once transformed, the block will feature 200 residential units and approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space in three LEED Gold-certified buildings, parking accommodations for 430 vehicles and high-end amenities galore, ranging from a putting green to a club room with wine storage and chef’s kitchen. It’s a package designed to appeal to the developer’s target market: baby boomers, families drawn to the desirable local school system and the young affluent crowd.

The demand is there. Block 137 has two major factors on its side, one of which is lack of competition; there are no comparable multi-family communities in the area, as Block 137 marks the first mixed-use development to be erected downtown in more than 15 years. And then there’s the cry—the loud cry among residents for more apartments. It shows in the vacancy rate, which is an enviable 2.76 percent in the Lake Oswego/West Linn submarket, according to a third quarter report by commercial real estate services firm NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson. Demand in the area even outpaces that in downtown Portland, where the vacancy rate is 3.26 percent. Per the report, “Portland’s multifamily market continues on a tear without any signs of slowing down.”

It’s a win-win for the residents and the developers. “For MEPT, this investment will contribute to Fund performance and give MEPT exposure to one of the most desirable residential locations in the Portland metropolitan area,” David Antonelli, executive vice president and MEPT portfolio manager at Bentall Kennedy, said in a prepared statement. Bentall Kennedy (U.S.) L.P. is the real estate investment advisor to MEPT. “Block 137 is aligned with the Fund’s investment strategy since it’s an investment in an attractive, urban center with a strong employer base, many amenities and a scarcity of rental options.”

MEPT and PHK—with PHK bringing the local Portland-area development expertise to the team—plan to continue to work closely with community officials and residents to ensure that Block 137 not only adds to downtown Lake Oswego, but complements its existing environment as well.