Real Estate

Property Watch: Classic Penthouse in the Heart of the Pearl

Come for the exposed brick, stay for the art, food, and shopping.

By Melissa Dalton September 13, 2021

Editor’s Note: Portland Monthly’s “Property Watch” column takes a weekly look at an interesting home on the market in Portland’s super-competitive real estate market (with periodic ventures to the burbs and points beyond, for good measure). This week: A Pearl District OG with thoughtful updates. Got a home you think would work for this column? Get in touch at [email protected].

Picture living in the Pearl District, and we bet your digs look something like this classic penthouse in the Chown Pella Lofts building. There’s a reason for that—the Chown Pella is said to be the first historic warehouse in the Pearl to be converted into condos, in 1996 by Ankrom Moisan Architects 

The building started life in 1910, and the following year was joined with a seven-story neighbor, which is why it has a somewhat uneven façade. It was the home of the Oregon Transfer Company for the next seven decades, warehousing products from companies like Coca-Cola and Wrigley. Entry is on Thirteenth Avenue via an elevated walkway that was surely the former loading dock. 

Image: Ruum Media

This fourth-floor penthouse is on the corner, which means the combined living areas have two glorious walls of windows, their black frames striking against the raw brick. Enjoy the views of this picturesque neighborhood, as well as the leafy greenery of a mature street tree, a welcome and unexpected sight four floors up. The high ceiling is painted a rich charcoal-black, so the crisscross of rafters and conduit isn’t too visually busy, and contrasts smartly against the red tones of the brick.  

Image: Ruum Media

In the living room, there’s enough space for two different seating areas, and a whole wall of floor-to-ceiling, built-in storage. Two wood sliding doors are mounted on metal castors, in keeping with the industrial context. The kitchen is tucked around a corner, and has a thoughtful layout with a nice-sized island, where guests can perch on stools without getting in the way of the cook. Sleek cabinets in a paler wood tone sync with the patina on the brick.


Image: Ruum Media

Up the stairs, there’s a bedroom with its own lovely views and private terrace, a generous walk-through closet, and en-suite wrapped in rippling, dimensional tile.  

Image: Ruum Media

The neighborhood’s industrial past is everywhere in the Pearl, from the streetscape out front, to the roof of this building. For the six blocks between NW Johnson and Davis streets, Thirteenth Avenue comprises its own little historic district, the utilitarian brick fronts and faded signage of the old warehouse occupants a handsome backdrop for all of the art walks, food happenings, and chic boutiques that the Pearl District is known for today.  

Image: Ruum Media

Up in this penthouse, just step outside on the terrace, or head to the communal rooftop, to see one of the building’s two remaining wooden water towers, structures so iconic that they’re on every street sign in the district. 

Listing Fast Facts 

Address: 416 NW 13th Ave, Unit 413 
Size: 1,624 square feet, 1 bed/2 bath 
List Date: 9/8/2021 
List Price: $950,000, with $965/month HOA dues 
Listing Agents: Susan Suzuki and Sasha Welford, Windermere Realty Trust 

Melissa Dalton is a freelance writer who has focused on Pacific Northwest design and lifestyle since 2008. She is based in Portland, Oregon. Contact Dalton here. 

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