An Historic Hotel’s Rebirth

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

In mid June, Central City Concern will join the Housing Authority of Portland (HAP), Multnomah County, the City of Portland and the State of Oregon  in celebrating the opening of the Martha Washington Hotel at 1115 SW 11th Avenue in downtown Portland. Vacant for several years, the stately 1923 hotel had been owned by Multnomah County.  In 2008, to spur redevelopment, the county conveyed the property to HAP to serve as real estate developer managing financing, design and construction of the $17.9 million renovation. With HAP continuing in the role as owner of the property, Central City Concern joined the project partnership as property manager and service provider for the building’s low-income residents.

Project funding included Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity, State of Oregon Mental Health & Addictions, Enterprise Green Communities, Multnomah County, the City of Portland and HAP.

Formerly a women’s boarding house, a commune, and a restitution center, the property at SW 11th and Main is nearing completion of a historic renovation to create 108 new units of studio or one-bedroom housing for Section 8 and public housing residents, and permanent supportive housing for homeless and chronically mentally ill populations.  The building is expected to be at full occupancy by the end of the year and the project expects to have a LEED® Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Highlights of the renovation include:

* Restoration of lobby and other common areas to original character
* Weather stripping of original windows like these bay windows below
* New, low-emission flooring throughout
* Elevator upgrades and improved emergency exits
* Seismic upgrades, roof replacement
* Complete new construction of residential units
* Overhauled plumbing, electrical, heating and sprinkler systems to meet  sustainability goals
* Kitchens and baths installed in every unit

Central City Concern will manage the leasing of all units and will provide 24-hour front desk service in the building’s lobby. The main lobby will also feature mail boxes, two computer stations and seating spaces in front of the fireplace for small gatherings. “We look forward to building a new community of residents at the Martha Washington,” said CCC Executive Director Ed Blackburn.  CCC’s resident services will include advocacy, conflict resolution assistance, rent assistance and service referrals.  Potential tenant inquiries may be directed to503-525-8483 or via email to Martha Washington.

Twenty-five units will be occupied by clients from CCC’s 12th Avenue Recovery Center that serves people with mental illness. 12th Avenue clients moving into the Martha Washington have most recently either been homeless or living in substandard housing. “It great to have this housing option,” said Kathleen Roy, Program Director. “We will have a case management and housing presence in the building to help establish a healthy, recovery community and help our clients be successful.”