First and Main building tops off

DJC Oregon - Monday, March 2, 2009  (By Tyler Graf) djcone20main201

"A year before the First and Main building – located at the western base of the Hawthorne Bridge – is scheduled to open its doors, its developers at San Francisco-based Shorenstein Company still don’t have an anchor tenant for their 365,000-square-foot building.  But with the shell of the building constructed, and 13 of the 16 floors safe for prospective tenants to look at, project managers such as Matt Cole are taking strides to boost marketing efforts.  “We’re hopeful to announce anchor tenants soon,” said Cole, a senior vice president of Shorenstein. “It’s so hard to predict what will happen with the economy though.”

That’s a common refrain among brokers, said Ryan Pennington, a Colliers International broker unassociated with the project.  “I wouldn’t be surprised if they had something signed really soon,” Pennington said. The building had its “topping off” ceremony late last week and marked the occasion with a mass tour for brokers. There’s no “common denominator” used in attempting to attract an anchor tenant, Cole said; however, Shorenstein and its brokers continue to sell the building as the “first new office building in the Central Business District since the Fox Tower.”   Construction of Fox Tower completed in 2000.

Its status as a “first” may be appealing, but First and Main could nonetheless find itself playing catch-up to Park Avenue West, the office tower scheduled to open immediately following First and Main. That building has already secured law firm Stoel Rives to anchor it.  “I don’t see that being a disadvantage, though,” Pennington said. “For most projects in this market, securing anchor tenants has been really difficult.”  In the next 12 to 36 months, he said, there will be a lot of bigger office tenants looking for space.

Todd Sklar, development director for Shorenstein, said he expects the building to become more attractive to tenants as it takes shape, one glass panel at a time.  “Our building may have more color than some,” Sklar said, adding that as the building adds new details, such as the expanse of glass that will cover the face of the building, brokers will have an easier time envisioning its final look.  “We have a big focus on natural light,” he added.

Construction on the building has stuck to its time schedule in spite of setbacks, according to Hoffman Construction supervisors. Work halted for two weeks in December, when Portland was pummeled by snow and ice. The setback to construction came as a surprise – a costly one – but Hoffman was “able to recover the lost time,” Cole said.

Though still gutted, with puddles of water pooling on the slab concrete ground, the building’s interior brings promises of sustainable features. The lobby will feature floors made of travertine, a type of sedimentary rock used in both ancient and modern architecture. Its walls will be lined with solid fir paneling to accentuate the floor-to-ceiling windows, said Krista Bailey, a development manager for Shorenstein. For looks and practicality, the lobby will also feature a gas fireplace, Bailey said, along with art displays and Venetian plaster – a finishing technique in which plaster is applied to walls with a trowel to create a three-dimensional texture.

The fourth floor will feature an eco-roof, which will be accessible to all building tenants. Currently, it’s just a concrete roof awaiting various plants, walkways and benches. Eventually, it will be a plush, garden-like environment, Bailey said.

It’ll grow, she said, like the building."