Thursday, December 27, 2012

Group working to connect investors to Portland neighborhood infill projects

A group under the working name Guerilla Development Capital is hosting a meeting this week to stoke interest in a new kind of investment platform that would connect individuals who have money to invest in real estate with community-minded developers looking to build innovative infill projects.

Tom Osdoba, a consultant who was recently named vice president of green initiatives with affordable housing company Columbia, Md.-based Enterprise Community Partners, is leading the effort.

"We've been working on this for over a year," Osdoba said.

Guerilla has half-dozen neighborhood-oriented developers lined up who are looking to raise money for community-scale projects that mix housing with retail and other uses. Now the group aims to find investors to connect with those developers.

"There should be a platform for investors interested in community development," said Osdoba, who is the former director of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon.

The idea for the effort began when MBA students Osdoba was working with at UO collaborated on a project with Mercy Corps NW which became a neighborhood real estate investment trust focused on the Lents neighborhood and launched earlier this year.

The idea crystallized further when Osdoba heard the story of the Eco Flats project, a bike-friendly, mixed-use apartment building on North Williams.

The developers behind that project, Jean-Pierre Veillet and Doug Shapiro, told Osdoba, "It took us two years to get our financing in place. It took us 30 days to lease the building."

Read More on Sustainable Business Oregon:
Article by Christina Williams

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stash Tea opens first tea bar

Forty years in, Stash is working to restore the focus on loose-leaf and other specialty teas. And last weekend it opened its first retail space in Portland — a North Mississippi Avenue store and tea bar that offers 250 loose-leaf teas and 65 by-the-ounce flavors.

Working with Siteworks Design-Build, Stash removed water-damaged flooring in a portion of the store and replaced it with Subway tiling. They scraped the paint away from the rest of the floor and refinished the wood.

Stash also reoriented the store to open up sight lines. Though it sells more than 300 kinds of tea, several brewing methods and dozens of accessories, the store has a minimalistic look. The tea bar has only seven seats. The result is a space that looks larger than it did a few months ago. Customers continue to ask if Stash expanded the store, but the square footage is the same.

Full Story on Oregon Live: