The Portland Development Commission hopes to close a deal by the end of the year for the U.S. Post Office site just west of the Broadway Bridge.
The property, at 715 N.W. Hoyt St., has vast redevelopment potential. It sits on the eastern edge of the Pearl District, within the River District Urban Renewal Area and just north of downtown Portland.
The property has been mentioned as a possible site for a Major League Baseball stadium as well as an extension of the retail- and office-heavy Pearl District.
PDC Executive Director Bruce Warner will ask the board Wednesday to approve a letter of intent allowing it to enter purchase discussions with the Postal Service. The board must also approve placing $2 million in escrow while negotiations for the site continue.
The 13.4-acre site carries a 2007 assessed value of $108 million. The building, which serves as a processing and distribution center, was built in 1962.
The transfer has approval from U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., who said in a statement it marks a big opportunity for both development and for the Postal Service to seek a better location.
Steven Shain, a PDC development manager, said it would likely take about five years before the post office leaves the site. He believes the land could serve as a research campus for “a footwear company or software developer.”
Shain said condominiums or a baseball stadium are unlikely. Supporters of building a downtown Portland stadium have long considered the site as a prime ballpark candidate.
“The problem with stadium uses is that, if you look at Seattle, there’s close to $1 billion worth of infrastructure there but no one’s there except during the games,” he said. “There’s no reason to go there unless there’s a game.”
The building’s future has been in doubt at least since Portland devised its Central City Plan in 1988.
“If they relocate, it would make sense to go to more of an industrial area” such as the Airport Way corridor, which has plenty of undeveloped land and is close to both the airport and Interstate 84, Shain said.
PDC hopes to reach an agreement on the purchase and relocation of the Post Office’s center by Dec. 31.
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