The Pearl District

The Pearl District is defined as the area of Northwest Portland connecting the downtown to the upper northwest. The boundaries are the North Park Blocks to the east, I-405 to the west, Burnside to the south, and Lovejoy to the north. The main throughways are Glisan (running west), Everett (running east), 10th and 14th (running north), and 11th (running south). The Pearl District is very accessible to freeways, and Tri-Met, Portland's mass transit system, runs through the neighborhood on a frequent schedule.

Growth in the Pearl District is increasing due to the River District Plan, an intitiative encouraging development of the area. Private and public interests are merging to bring over 10,000 new residents to the area, with over 5500 new housing units planned in the next 20-year period. The plan also incorporates 1,000,000 square feet of new commercial and retail space. New pedestrian green spaces will be a focal point for the Tanner Creek Basin.

The Pearl District, long known as home to many industrial businesses, has undergone significant changes in the last ten years. As new industrial parks have lured many industries to the suburbs, the empty warehouses left behind have offered unique opportunities for residential and commercial development. The proximity of the Pearl District to Downtown and the Upper Northwest Portland have made it a prime candidate for re-development. The architecture of the buildings is well suited for loft-type spaces such as those in New York and Chicago.

There are currently about a dozen warehouses that have been converted to offices, retail storefronts, galleries, studios, and residences. Occupancy is over 90% and waiting lists are common. Original wood floors and freight elevators remain, with each tenant adding imaginative features to the individual spaces. City Lofts boasts 13 individually-styled residential lofts. And over 150 new residential lofts and townhomes are currently under construction or renovation, such as the Chown Pella Lofts.

Portland has spent $5 million on improvements to the North Park Blocks, including adding an elaborate playground for children. Tyee Productions, 24 Hour Fitness (previously Gold's Gym), BIMA Restaurant, Blue Pear, Flanders Brew Pub, Print Paks, Shakers Café, and Portland Antiques are just a few examples of the eclectic mix of business tenants in the area. One of the most exciting features of the neighborhood is the many art galleries. On the first Thursday of each month the streets fill with people visiting these galleries to see openings of local art.

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