Located in the heart of Portland’s South Waterfront District, the Zidell family’s 33-acre riverfront property is the largest undeveloped site in the city. For generations the land has been home to the family’s industrial businesses. Now, after extensive environmental restoration, the site is prepared for redevelopment. As barge operations continue on a portion of the Yards, the family has launched an ambitious plan to transform the land into a mixed use district complete with parks, plazas and river access. First to break ground: The Emery, a 118-unit apartment project.
Over the past decade the area surrounding the Yards has seen remarkable change, with the development of high rise condos, an aerial tram, streetcar, and a rapidly expanding medical university, OHSU. Once complete, OHSU’s new Collaborative Life Sciences Building will be home to 3,700 new students, researchers, doctors, and faculty. And by 2015, brand new transit systems, including Tri-Met’s Orange Line, will bring 25,000 people to the area daily from downtown, Southeast Portland and Milwaukie. Together, these projects represent a new wave of energy and a tipping point for the entire district.
The Zidell family has deep roots in this land, and they see the Yards as an opportunity to create something distinct, bold, and of lasting value for the City of Portland. The Yards embraces the values that make Portland a great place to live: commitment to sustainability, great restaurants, access to transit, and a walking, biking urban lifestyle. The project also takes inspiration from cities like Oslo, Vancouver BC, Chicago, and Copenhagen– cold climate cities that incorporate waterfront parks, docks for kayaking, restaurants on barges, and urban beaches to successfully create waterfront destinations. The river is a universal draw and the Zidell family believes it should be celebrated and shared as a citywide gathering place.
Small, creative firms to large corporate campus users are demanding buildings with character and soul, collaborative open space floor plans, and sustainable features. Buildings at the Yards, as well as the natural and urban environments that surround them, will resonate with the forward-thinking companies that share these values. With a balanced mix of uses and dynamic urban spaces, Zidell Yards is perfectly positioned to become a vibrant waterfront neighborhood, not so unlike the bustling postwar days of Emery Zidell.