Architectural detectives work to discover former design of building so its can regain historic status. Jessica Engeman is a detective uncovering forgotten design elements of prominent historical buildings.
Portland’s Skidmore Old Town Historic District is being revitalized with a push to preserve more of the district’s historic buildings.
Despite its dingy past, Old Town could be entering a new era. The catalyst: a $37 million, 142,000-square-foot renovation of the historic White Stag Block.
The landmark neon of the White Stag sign continues to blink on and off over the Burnside Bridge, while major changes take place in the buildings below. When the University of Oregon and other tenants move in, in February 2008, the completed development will be a showcase for green design.
For new construction projects, getting the necessary funding generally takes a couple of months. But developer Venerable Properties spent the better part of last year taking the necessary steps to round up the dough to redevelop the White Stag Block.
For Venerable Group, Inc, which is renovating three buildings that constitute the White Stag Block, the exhaustive effort to create a new Portland home for the University of Oregon is no exception.
Portland has lost many of its cast-iron buildings, a style very popular here in late 19th century. Venerable has restored and recast many of the broken and missing cast-iron pieces and installed them on the Bickel Building, part of the White Stag Block in Old Town.
The former nerve center of the Naito family merchandising and real estate empire changed hands last week on its way to becoming a $30 million University of Oregon complex in Portland.
Art DeMuro, president of Venerable Group, Inc., feels the loss when historic buildings are razed. He’s a real estate man and, more importantly, he’s a history buff. The combination of the two, is perfect for Portland–a city that appreciates the connection between old and new development, a city that likes to show off its preservation efforts.
The University of Oregon may move its Portland programs to the White Stag Block in Old Town if a $30 million project that supporters say would help revitalize the area can win public money.