PORTLAND-City officials here are considering a moratorium and other actions designed to limit the proliferation of “Telco Hotels” in the city’s rapidly gentrifying warehouse district immediately north of downtown.

Until recently, most buildings in the district were being converted for use as condominiums and office space, while restaurants and upscale retail have been taking over the ground-level space. To further such gentrification, the city is running a streetcar line through the area.

A mini-boom in telco hotel developments in the area, however, is worrying city officials. They fear much of the street-level space envisioned as pedestrian-friendly retail, will be turned into windowless walls behind which very few people surrounded by rows of refrigerator-sized cabinets serving as hubs for the city’s Internet traffic. At least five such projects are underway or just being completed, and two of them are fronting the city’s new streetcar line.

So, after a state-mandated 45-day waiting period, the City Council will hold a hearing to decide whether to implement the moratorium that would last approximately four months and be extended for an additional four months. Backing the moratorium are warehouse district developers Al Solheim and Homer Williams, who believe the city needs time to rezone the area or add design controls to prevent the facilities from taking more street-level space.

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