Downtown development report shows record construction

Housing affordability challenges persist across region

May 17, 2017

Portland, Ore. – Today, Downtown Clean & Safe released its 2017 Development/Redevelopment Report, which shows a record number of active construction projects in the central city since the annual report began more than 15 years ago. There are 45 projects currently under construction, up from 39 last year. Increased development was particularly significant in the in the central Eastside, Lloyd and lower Burnside districts.

“It’s fantastic to see such strong investment and growth across the central city,” said Cindy Laurila, corporate real estate manager at Portland General Electric and board chair of Downtown Clean & Safe. “This report makes it clear that downtown Portland continues to be a vibrant, attractive place to live and do business.”

Hotel development has been particularly strong in this period. In addition to three recently completed hotels, there are seven more hotel projects under construction in the central city, which will add roughly 1,250 rooms in the next two years. Additionally, there are eight projects in the design stage, which would add up to another 2,100 more rooms when completed. The largest of these projects is the 600-room Convention Center Hyatt Regency, which is slated to break ground later this year.

“The downtown core will see an unprecedented 40 percent growth in hotel rooms over the next few years,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of Travel Portland and Downtown Clean & Safe board member. “Outside of hotels, the developments in downtown and areas like the Lloyd District will enhance the Portland experience for leisure visitors and convention delegates alike, and we look forward to building these new assets into our marketing around Portland as a travel destination.”

Alongside the good news in construction growth rates, the report also identified persistent housing affordability challenges within the central city due to supply constraints. While there was a slight increase in vacancy rates for both office and residential space during the past year, supply remains tight due to the level of demand. The addition of significant new residential units under construction or proposed will increase supply and help address the ongoing tight vacancy rate in housing that impacts affordability.

Report highlights include:
  • Central city vacancy rates increased slightly for office space (10.5 percent) up from 6.7 percent last year, retail held steady (6 percent), and city-wide residential properties (5.4 percent) up from 3.5 percent last year.
  • Since 2010, more than 5,000 new residential units have been built, ranging from affordable, workforce and luxury housing.
  • Today, an additional 3,000 residential units in 18 projects are under construction and 2,400 units in another 14 projects are on the drawing board.
  • Significant office projects include the Multnomah County Courthouse, and the Meier and Frank Building, which formerly housed Macy’s, and a number of projects in South Waterfront associated with the expansion of Oregon Health Sciences University.
The annual Development/Redevelopment Report is created by Downtown Clean & Safe to gauge economic vitality and activity in the central city and to provide information for developers, real estate brokers, property managers and owners, prospective tenants, institutional investors and others who are interested in downtown Portland as a place to do business.

A copy of the full report can be found here.

Downtown Clean & Safe District
Downtown’s Clean & Safe District was created more than 20 years ago to support additional cleaning and security in the central city. The district, funded by downtown property owners, includes 213 blocks in the central city, and also supports market research and retail recruitment and retention efforts. The district is managed by the Portland Business Alliance under the direction of the district’s board of directors. Learn more at