2007 MFE Awards
Merit: Adaptive Reuse

Built in 1906, the 70,000-square-foot Crane Building was a tough old bird for developers who tried to redevelop the well-worn industrial building in Portland's Pearl District.

Several condo and office developers had unsuccessfully approached the Crane Building, which consists of a six-story masonry brick tower linked by common architectural elements to a one-story warehouse and loading dock. But it was Guardian Management that recognized what the project needed to be viable--a variety of market elements in a vertical mixed-use scheme, coupled with a layered financing structure.

SERA Architects converted the building, which previously housed a rag processing facility, to house a mix of office, residential, and ground-floor retail space. Historic loft apartments occupy three floors, and two penthouse suites are situated on a newly constructed rooftop. Niche retail fills the ground floor, while a large restaurant and fish market are housed in the former warehouse and loading dock. The basement was converted into parking.

The renovated building features a number of green elements, including a central hydronic system, low-VOC carpets and finishes, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and energy-efficient appliances in the residential units.

Guardian used many capital sources to fund the $24 million redevelopment, including historic tax credits, construction loans, loans from the local urban renewal agency, equity from a private placement memorandum, and energy tax credits. The project delivers--so much so that Guardian utilizes two floors of the Crane Building as its corporate headquarters.