Many look forward to 'superblock' development in Lloyd District

Many look forward to 'superblock' development in Lloyd District »Play Video
A drawing of what the 'superblock' development in the Lloyd District will look like.

PORTLAND, Ore. - A $250 million plan to build three high-rise apartment buildings in Northeast Portland's so-called "superblock" may become the largest high-rise project in the city's history.

The superblock, between Northeast 7th and 9th Avenues between Multnomah and Holladay, has been in the works for 15 years.

Construction could begin by year's end and it is expected to take more than two years to build three apartment towers. That means the high-rises would open in 2015.

GBD Architects envisions the towers to be 13, 18 and 32 stories high – the last the maximum height allowed. They're calling it the Lloyd Blocks.

The plan from developer Langley Investment Properties calls for 780 apartments as well as some office and retail space and two levels of underground parking.

The main selling points are the MAX and streetcar lines that run right by the site, the high-rise views and the proximity to downtown Portland. It's expected to attract renters who don't have cars.

Real estate analysts expect people in their 20s and 30s who move to Portland from another city to be drawn to the project along with baby boomers looking to downsize.

The timing of the project appears to be right. The National Association of Realtors reported last week that Portland has the second-lowest vacancy rate in the country, trailing only New York City.

At least one person expressed concern to a KATU News reporter Monday that the neighborhood will get too crowded. But businesses see it as an opportunity to get more customers and many others want to see the thousands of constructions jobs the project will create.

JJ Hewitt's business, The Playground Gym, is just blocks from where the superblock will sit.

"You have people moving to the area; it makes an area more vibrant and you have people who frequent the businesses around so I definitely think it could help the neighborhood," he said.

He said business is good, especially on rainy days, and birthday parties are booked until April. Adding the new apartments to the Lloyd District can only help.

"It's a PDC development area, a focus area, for a reason. There are some places that could use some help," he said.

The average size of these apartments will be 880 square feet. But the developer has not released a price range. And it's also unclear if any of the units will be set aside for affordable housing.