By Don MacGillivray

A handsome building where Fishel’s Furniture has become an icon at E. Burnside and SE Martin Luther King Blvd. (MLK) will soon be demolished in favor of a 17 story multi-use building with retail space fronting on MLK and 3rd Ave.

The design of the building will blend in well with the Central Eastside’s industrial character and the nearby historic district.

The main retail entrance will be at the corner of E Burnside and MLK Blvd. and above will be 100,000 square feet of offices on the 2nd through 5th stories.

Rising in the remaining twelve stories above will be approximately 220 residential apartments. This contemporary “L” shaped building uses all the space on the entire site. Balconies, terraces, and a rooftop deck will allow tenants to enjoy spectacular views of all parts of the city and countryside.

Serving both the residents and offices will be three levels of below grade parking for 180 cars.

In addition there will be parking for 180 bicycles along with locker rooms with showers. There is easy access to the Eastbank Esplanade and the inner city freeways for connecting commuters.

Preliminary drawings are by GREC Architects of Chicago and Portland’s Gerding Edlen. The project is undergoing design review by the city and construction will begin later this year with completion expected to be in the fall of 2018.

It is sad to be losing the Fishel’s Building as it is a fine example of early 20th century commercial development that adds to the area’s historic character. Built in 1900, it was a matter of time before a large development decided to replace it.

It is hoped that the majority of older buildings in the Eastside Historic District along Grand Ave. and MLK will remain and be renovated rather than replaced. How do we know who we are without our past?

The newest entry into the Portland Central Eastside Industrial District’s building boom will be nine stories, 90,000 square foot office building at 129 SE Alder St.

The plans include lots of natural light, operable windows, and Spartan contemporary interiors. The target market for the new office space is creative, innovative companies that find Portland an attractive location.

The property is owned by Harsch Investment Properties, a large real estate investment firm owned by the Schnitzer family. Works Partnership Architecture is designing the building and R&H Construction will manage its construction. It will add to the Central Eastside’s evolving nature as the fastest growing area in the central city.

As Central Eastside continues to grow at a record pace, many additional large buildings are in the planning stages and under construction.

In a few years, it will no longer be the sleepy light industrial and warehousing district it once was and will definitely take attention away from the Pearl District and other newer areas in the central city.