Interest in the old courthouse was high, with over 170 potential buyers signing confidentiality agreements. The sale culminated an effort to relocate the courthouse first started in 2011.
More recently, NBP Capital filed documents with the City of Portland giving some insight into its plans for the old courthouse. Seismic upgrades will certainly be on tap, as the building does not meet modern standards and would be severely damaged in the inevitable Cascadia earthquake. While some envisioned using the building to provide affordable housing or for what would certainly be the world's largest brewpub, NBP envisions a modern twist on common downtown uses. Much like the recently completed Broadway Tower, NBP is considering a mixed-use building of office space and a hotel. NBP intends to preserve the existing courthouse shell, thereby avoiding a potential fight over impacts to the historic structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Opinions on whether or not the courthouse exterior merits preservation will no doubt vary. While I've previously been critical of historic resource protection, in this case NBP is to be commended for finding a middle ground between the static preservation of the past and the efficient use of property to meet 21st century needs. The new proposal, if seen to fruition, will bring modern style and function to a stately piece of Portland's history.