Plans to redevelop the Rose Quarter appear to have hit a big snag as potential developers seem to be having trouble putting together a joint proposal, reportsNathalie Weinstein at Daily Journal of Commerce.
But given the history behind the project it seems to be no surprise that that developers can’t work together.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams made redeveloping the Rose Quarter a priority, and last year assembled a Stakeholder Advisory Committee to solicit and evaluate proposals for the area.
The committee came up with a shortlist of three proposals that included the Portland Trail Blazers’ “JumpTown” entertainment district, Memorial Athletic and Recreation Center, and the Memorial Arts and Athletic Center.
In April, City Council voted to move the process forward unanimously to the request for proposals stage in the process. The three developers considered putting forth a joint RFP, but that process seems to have stalled. Here’s why:
Shortly after the Stakeholder Advisory Committee produced its shortlist, Douglas Obletz, the sponsor for the Memorial Athletic and Recreation Center, raised concerns over the process.
The city contracts with Portland Arena Management, a company owned by the Blazers, to operate Memorial Coliseum. The contract states that the city can pull out of the agreement, but if it did so it could not use the coliseum for sporting events or concerts.
If another entity took over operations of the Rose Quarter, PAM would lose out big, and appears to be protecting its economic interest. Members of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee brought this issue up in a minority report, and Obletz has been arguing that the company essentially holds all the cards in the deal.
In a letter to City Council, which has final say over the Rose Quarter’s fate, he wrote “… we have determined that proceeding with additional development of our plan, including preparing a response to the proposed Request for Proposals (RFP), represents a considerable risk given what amounts to the right of Portland Arena Management (PAM) to veto any operation of the Memorial Coliseum as a spectator facility by anyone but themselves.”
“The Blazers have been very forthcoming with our team and have repeatedly indicated that there are no circumstances under which they would be willing to relinquish their operating rights to the Coliseum,” read the letter.