Amy and I got a tour of the 66,000 sq ft Leftbank building this morning (here's a post with more background)—originally three separate buildings that have been built together to form one rambling multilevel structure, the space has at various points housed a restaurant and bakery, MultiCraft Plastics, and a short-lived illegal jazz club called the Dude Ranch, which was shut down in the mid 1940s after a shooting occurred. (Our tour guide Joanne Agee told us that the shooting may have served as an excuse to shut down a club in which black and white patrons mingled freely.)
The building is currently undergoing a massive facelift, and is looking for businesses to join their "community of mission-driven tenants." Despite all the talk of community and sustainability, there are no specific requirements for leasing in the space; Agee simply says that they "hope that the way we talk about the space attracts the right kind of tenants"—and that so far, it has.
Mum's still the word on releasing the names of businesses that have already signed on, but we saw one huge room which is being leased to a bike business, while a craft brewer doing open-air fermentation will occupy the basement. They're looking for a restaurant and cafe to move in as well—as Agee put it, the building is kind of an island, so they want to create a space that's pretty self-sufficient, for both tenants and other area businesses and residents. (To that end, there are even showers onsite for tenants.)
Amy snapped some great photos, which I will post after the jump along with a few more details.
They're planning a huge bay of vertical bike parking, and hoping to restripe Wheeler ave just in front of the building to allow for metered parking spaces. Oh, and "they" are Leftbank LLC, headed up by entrepreneur Daniel Deustch, a "musician with an interest in real estate" who was also involved in developing a multiuse space on Killingsworth.
A surprising amount of the woodwork and flooring is original: The space is being developed with an eye toward preserving and reusing materials. Construction should be finished by early September, if not sooner—TBA is hosting both the Works and their visual programming in the space, which will beat the hell out of the scene at the Wonder last year.
This could be a pretty significant development for the area (which, according to Amy was talked about quite a bit during the campaign season as the "next 'next'"). "We really hope that this project is a seed in this neighborhood," Agee told us. "The Rose Quarter is [busy on event nights], but during the day there's no vitality. There are a lot of people in these neighborhoods and businesses who aren't being served—we hope that Leftbank will become a living room for those people."
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