Open Spaces, Innovative Structures: Real Estate Students Envision Union Park
Author: Andrea Bailey
Posted: September 22, 2016

How do you realize the opportunity of a 14 acre site opening up at the hinge of two rapidly evolving historic neighborhoods?

On Wednesday morning, a team of students in Portland State’s Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) program presented their plan for the future of just that site: the grounds of and around the Pearl District post office, potentially the largest single development in the downtown area.

A collaboration with the Portland Development Commission and ZGF Architects, their showcase of the project they titled Union Park drew a crowd of private and public influencers at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

The plan envisions a phased development focused on connectivity between districts, inclusive community, environmental stewardship, and economic viability.

It also looks to continue the city’s unique vibe, creating an area that feels like Portland.

To accomplish these goals, the students integrated 2.8 acres of new open space featuring vegetation and public art, commercial buildings laid out with the kind of open floor plans coveted by creative enterprises, affordable and mixed income residential buildings alongside two condo towers, and leverage of existing transit infrastructures.

“This team has wrestled with some big challenges on this site and come up with really innovative solutions,” commented Kathy Berg of ZGF Architects.

Chad Encinas, one of the MRED students who worked on the project, pointed out one of his favorite innovative features on the site: mechanized parking, which reduces the square footage needed per car from about 400 to just 138, affording the site the level of density needed in a growing city that fiercely resists sprawl.

The entire proposal will be available on the PSU Center for Real Estate’s website. If accepted groundbreaking would be slated for 2019.

Explore: Find out more about the Master of Real Estate Development at Portland State.