Nov 16, 2023 - Real Estate

Construction ramps up at Pop Blocks development

A photo of construction on an eight-story building with an arched pavilion.

Construction on the Splash Apartments, phase one of the Pop Blocks development, seen in October. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

After a few hiccups, construction on the mixed-use, mixed-income complex at the corner of NE 27th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard is speeding along — adding several new levels since earlier this year.

Catch up quick: Seven years ago, Seattle-based developer Security Properties bought the '60s-era Pepsi Cola Bottling Plant for $27 million with the intent to turn the 4.7-acre site into a combination of housing (about 500 to 1,300 apartments), parks, retail and commercial space — now referred to as Pop Blocks.

  • The bottling plant's original, Art Deco-style arches would also be preserved and serve as a public pavilion.
  • Despite city officials approving the design for the Splash Apartments (the first iteration of the development) back in 2018, the project was stalled and then restarted a few times over whether Security Properties could use tax-exempt funding to build required affordable housing units.
A photo of construction on a building and a crane.
Construction on the Splash Apartments seen on the corner of NE 27th Avenue and NE Sandy Boulevard in July. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

What's happening: Construction resumed in November 2022, minus 33 affordable units (it will now only have 11) and is expected to finish in the first quarter of 2024, a spokesperson from R&H Construction, the contractor for Splash Apartments, told Axios.

  • The 219-unit, eight-story residential building, with 13,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, is slated to open next August — eight months behind schedule.

What's next: Last month, the Portland Design Commission gave its advice for an additional eight-story, 160-unit residential building (dubbed "Building B") and a "sculptural play area" (soon to be known as Pacific Park) to be added to the southwest corner of the site designed by Portland-based Ankrom Moisan Architects.

  • A design review is scheduled for February, and if the commission signs off on the plans, a permit will be issued and construction can begin on the second parcel of Pop Blocks. Occupancy is slated for late 2026.

The bottom line: It may still be a decade before we see the site developed to its fully intended glory.


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