A Jewel of an Opportunity

Portland’s Pearl District Becomes an Internet Infrastructure Hub

The Pearl District north of Portland’s downtown business center is taking on a new luster. This warehouse/light-industrial neighborhood has seen the development of loft conversions, new apartment complexes and retail stores as part of the city’s urban growth strategy. More recently, colocation and data centers have emerged, because of the area’s proximity to fiber optic lines. With its reputation for expertise in mission critical facilities, DPR is at the very heart of this activity, working closely with developers.

“A lot of new life is being breathed into the area,” said DPR Regional Manager Jim Kilpatrick. “With DPR projects covering more than 500,000 sq. ft. in the Pearl District and with another 300,000 sq. ft. in discussion, there will be a lot of activity in this area for the next three years. Our experience in building mission critical facilities has made us a major player here,” Kilpatrick added.

DPR has several jobs in a six-block radius, including the renovation of an unreinforced masonry building for Level 3 Communications. DPR gutted the interior of the vintage 1892 Gender Machine Works and constructed a new core inside the preserved façade, all in 11 months. “It looked like a war zone when we finished demolition, but our sequencing and working two shifts, seven days a week, allowed us to finish the job on schedule, without even a single first aid incident,” said Project Manager Tim Sissel.

It’s four jobs in one at the C&E Properties building: seismic work on the shell for the owner and interior improvements for the 80,000-sq.-ft. building’s three tenants. “Before we began work, we surveyed the tenants to make sure ceiling heights, dead and live load requirements, and proximity to water, power and fiber met their needs,” said Project Manager Greg Wimmer.

At the Portland Pearl Technology Center,“we brought the strength to the table that helped the owner plan early for infrastructure, utility systems and fiber,” said Project Manager Erin Creedon. The design/build seismic upgrade and core construction under way on the 300,000-sq.-ft. former warehouse will make way for telecom tenants scheduled to occupy the facility in February 2001.