Friday, May 27, 2011

Portland public market - great concept - but . . . .

The public market {James Beard Public Market] people have been trying to site this project for many years. Interestingly, the site was at one time a potential Saturday Marker relocation site. But Saturday Market was merely displacing a parking lot and not returning it to the tax rolls. There was no other development either.

I am willing to buy into the probable success. But - it has to be on the backs of the investors and developers and not property owners or city revenues however acquired. Don't bother though to read the proposal - it is bloated with marketing hype, and any meaningful data has been replaced with "Confidential."

But KGW's online story leads one to believe that in fact public money will be used to fund the market, at least in part. "Both parts of the development would feed off each other's potential success with some of the potential property tax revenue from the tower, for example, feeding into the market's funding." [KGW] That statement seems contrary to this one from the County Chair Cogen: "This is an opportunity for us to take this prime property and put it back on the tax rolls and put it to work in revitalizing downtown Portland."

Mr. Cogen one has to remember is probably going to run for mayor. For years that land has been mostly used as a parking lot. It may be interesting if Mr. Cogen runs for mayor just how much support will be forthcoming from Melvin Mark?

While neither it nor the combination with the tower will provide the incentive for Portlanders or tourists to patronize the market - it could be a catalyst for other development in the immediate area that will attract them. Pike Place Market it will never be and hopefully that will not be the development model.

Rather than becoming too excited about this project I go along with KGW's cautious approach: "Assuming developers can raise enough money to launch this project, it could lead to hundreds of jobs and give a huge boost [to] local tourism and downtown retail."

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