The 347-unit Goat Blocks apartment project is due to open shortly in inner SE Portland. Killian Pacific's project features 347 market rate apartments, the fourth Market of Choice grocery store in the Portland area, an Orchard Supply Hardware and 98,000 additional square feet of retail.
The story of the Goat Blocks reveals how the long play can pan out in commercial real estate. Starting in the 1920s, the two-block superblock served as a neighborhood bazaar and farmer's market. Unused by 1999, Killian Pacific acquired the site and talked to the neighborhood about what it needed. A grocery store and market rate housing was the answer, but planning the development and riding out the Great Recession meant the site sat vacant until 2015. In 2012, Killian Pacific introduced goats to the site as environmentally-friendly landscapers, and they became a huge hit. While the goats are gone, the name has stuck.
The City approved the project in 2014, construction commenced in 2015 and the project is now over 25% leased.
Many developers today are looking for a quick turnaround on sites. In the single-family market in Portland today, sites with shovel-ready permits are the hot ticket. Few buyers want to take on the land use and permitting process. The Goat Blocks provides a nice contrast, showing how a good site will always be a good site even if the project is not yet obvious or the market will not support it. Even though the turnaround for the developers was almost 20 years, I'm sure they are happy they did it, and the end result looks to be a great addition to the inner Eastside.