Every three years, a new document dedicated to the build-out of the 37-acre Rose Quarter rises to the surface.

First there was the 1992 Rose Quarter development agreement, which built the Rose Garden Arena and the accompanying office building and parking structures. It also gave billionaire Paul Allen, developer of the Rose Quarter control of several parcels that remain undeveloped, underdeveloped or, in the case of Memorial Coliseum, in need of redevelopment.

In 1995, the Rose Quarter Master Plan came along, detailing the area’s transformation into a 24-hour entertainment district and attracting restaurants and retailers. The plan, which included waterfront office space, a convention center hotel, a roller coaster, theaters and other developments, was never acted upon.

In 1998, with all but one of the tenants having left for lack of business, Paul Allen’s Oregon Arena Corp. commissioned its own, private study looking at development possibilities for the Rose Quarter properties it owns outright and the city parcels it controls as a result of the 1992 development agreement.

Now, right on queue, the city has funded another Rose Quarter-related study that will be completed next spring. The Portland Design Commission has hired Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh, PA to conduct design and development studies for not just the quarter, but also the surrounding area.

The $200,000 report will examine issues such as waterfront development, sports facilities, performing arts facilities, educational facilities and transportation facilities. A recommendation for the future of the coliseum property will also be included.

Jay Isaac, Allen’s right hand man in Portland, is welcoming the study as a way to ensure that its developments, whatever they may be, ultimately fit into the grand scheme for the area. “We think it’s important to wait for the public process to run its course,” Isaac tells GlobeSt.com. “We want to give every opportunity for the big idea that might involve a public-private partnership, because it may very well change our view on what would make sense to go around it.”

Allen has development rights to all of the city-owned property within the Rose Quarter, and also owns the former Red Lion Coliseum Hotel on the nearby riverfront now being managed by the DoubleTree Corp. Specifically, Allen has air rights above the two parking garages on the north side of Memorial Coliseum, a half-acre parcel west of the garage structures, another half-acre parcel on the south side of the coliseum, and the coliseum itself, by far the best parcel in the Rose Quarter.

All the properties are included in the Schnitzer report, which Isaac is holding very close to his vest, but willing to talk about generally. “We went to the point of having experts in each area (office, hospitality, retail, entertainment) give us their opinion on what usages might work, and then analyzed the profitability of each usage,” Isaac told GlobeSt this week. “We didn’t find anything that should immediately be developed.”

What Isaac did find is “limited” opportunities for the “air rights” above the garages. He says they cannot support the weight of an office building – meaning an expensive superstructure would have to be built – and they’re too heavily used for Rose Quarter events to be shut down during construction.

The study “took a real good look” at office space on most of the development sites, but with two new office buildings going up downtown (one of which is just now being completed), “we didn’t (identify) anything in the current business cycle that we felt hit a normal investors hurdle right.”

If the Schnitzer study were done again today, a different conclusion might be drawn. Top city officials were getting concerned, however, and Isaac is now sitting on another Rose Quarter-related steering committee, seemingly content to wait and see if a higher, better and more coordinated use for more than just the Rose Quarter can come from it.

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