The Albina Neighborhood of NE Portland has long been one of the city’s most economically distressed. Dating back to 1948, when many of today’s Albina Neighborhood residents and their forebears were displaced from Vanport City due to a devastating flood, the community in NE has faced a lack of community services and employment opportunities. A corner on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, which included the historic Marco Industrial Building, had been identified as a critical focal point for the area’s economic revitalization, but efforts to redevelop this vacant property over a decade had been unsuccessful.
The 40,000 sq. ft., LEED Gold 17-unit Vanport Square mixed-use development is part of the solution. It includes office, retail, and restaurant space targeted specifically for the relocation and expansion of locally owned small businesses. The development offers a diverse mix of services to the neighborhood. Key to the financing goals of this project was New Markets Tax Credits that enabled a unique business condominium structure. The tax credits directly benefit business owners by allowing them to purchase their spaces with affordable loans.