Downtown's PSU District Gets a Makeover

The city's southern end is waking up, with new projects aiming to tap the college-crowd population boom

By Cari Johnson February 3, 2014 Published in the February 2014 issue of Portland Monthly

Is the south end of downtown ready to become Oregon’s most densely populated district?

5,100 people inhabit the 50-acre area. Portland State has more than 29,000 students; by 2025, the school projects it will enroll 50,000. Already, PSU boasts one of the state’s busiest transit hubs and the new Milwaukie-bound Orange Line’s arrival in 2015 will amp up the district’s role as a metro-wide magnet. 

Here’s a peek at the transformation to come:

0214 psu map vhoikr

Image: Nomad

1. St. Mary’s Expansion

In September 2013, the private high school purchased the former University Station block for $7.6 million to accommodate its growing student body.

2. New PSU Business School

Located in the heart of campus, at Sixth and Harrison, the current business school will double its size with 95,000 additional square feet, and bring the School of Education under the same roof. (cost: $60 million)

3. Viking Pavilion

PSU’s ancient gym will be reborn as the $44-million Viking Pavilion, with a 5,500-seat basketball arena and concert venue.

4. New apartments

An eight-story, 54-unit apartment building, with First National Taphouse on the ground floor

5. New Lincoln Street MAX stop

Already completed but not opening until 2015. TriMet estimates up to 32 buses and 12 trains an hour will travel along this formerly sleepy stretch of downtown. 

6. Former University Place hotel

Proposals are being gathered for this plot next to the Lincoln Street MAX stop, likely to be redeveloped as a mix of office, residential, and retail space.

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