Greyhound departed its station in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown earlier this month, opting to sell the two-acre depot it’s called home since the mid-1980s in favor of a curb-side pickup location a few blocks away.
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The national bus carrier removed all logos from the aging, low-slung building at 550 N.W. 6th Avenue and placed signs in multiple windows announcing the move. On Monday, two Greyhound buses and a Bolt bus remained in the vehicle bay, but otherwise the building appeared empty.
Greyhound’s move means a large piece of prime real estate, bordered by light rail lines on its east and west sides and surrounded by multiple bus lines, is officially on the market. The site is in the heart of a changing neighborhood that is blocks away from the 14-acre Post Office development the city is hoping will transform the area.
Earlier this year, the city’s urban renewal agency announced it had chosen a conceptual development on the Post Office property that includes sports courts surrounded by high rise buildings.
The property is an important piece of what the city is calling the Broadway Corridor, a 34-acre swath of land that encompasses the Post Office property, Amtrak’s Union Station and the surrounding area.
Sarah Harpole, Prosper Portland’s project manager for the Broadway Corridor, said the agency has known for some time that Greyhound wanted to sell the land.
“Prosper Portland has no plans to acquire the property,” she said in an email. “However, given its location bridging the Broadway Corridor and the Old Town/Chinatown Action Plan boundaries, it holds considerable potential, and we’ll be watching carefully to see what comes next.”
Despite the property’s potential, just two years ago, the regional transit agency had asked to potentially buy the land to turn it into a rest stop -- effectively a parking lot -- for buses and light rail trains.
Roberta Altstadt, a TriMet spokeswoman, confirmed the transit agency approached Greyhound two years ago to discuss potentially buying the property. Altstadt said those discussions involved either TriMet buying the land on its own or jointly with the city of Portland.
TriMet considered using the land for “possible vehicle layovers” for two major capital construction projects, either the Division Transit Project or Southwest Corridor light rail proposal. “As design of those projects has developed,” Altstadt said, “TriMet has no project plans or project budget placeholders to acquire land from Greyhound.”
Greyhound isn’t leaving the area altogether. It will now pick up customers on Northwest Station Way between Marshall and Lovejoy. Passengers who are unable or unwilling to buy tickets online can buy in person at a new ticket office at 427 NW 6th Ave.
Crystal Booker, a Greyhound spokeswoman, didn’t immediately answer questions about the move but said in an email that the change “is similar to many other carriers and Greyhound locations across the country, as more customers become familiar with curbside pickup options and online and mobile ticketing features."
Prosper Portland owns a parking lot directly across the street from the Greyhound terminal, a property it also hopes to sell.
CBRE is marketing the Greyhound site. According to a company real estate brochure obtained by The Oregonian/occupychristmas.org, the 90,000-square-foot property “boasts an unparalleled location” because of its access to transit. The brochure notes that “future housing supply is scarce” in the surrounding area and the property presents an “extraordinary opportunity” in the neighborhood. The brochure does not include a listing price.
Transportation Realty Income Partners, a Delaware-based Greyhound subsidiary, bought the property in 1988 for $8.5 million, according to property tax records.
The CBRE brochure indicates the property is a “paradise” for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders. The southern half of the land is zoned to accommodate buildings of up to 325 feet, while the northern portion closer to Union Station could legally accommodate 75-foot tall buildings.
Graham Taylor, a CBRE senior vice president, confirmed the brochure but declined to comment for this story.
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