Saved from Demolition, Portland Carriage House Still for Sale

By Samantha Honl | Online Only |Preservation Magazine, National Trust for Historic Preservation

In Portland, Ore., a new parking garage didn’t mean the end of an 1883 carriage house. But now the Ladd Carriage House needs a new owner.

Last October arborists sat ready in the trees and thousands gathered around as the historic Ladd Carriage House, built by Portland’s fifth mayor, William S. Ladd, was winched three blocks down Columbia Street to its original lot.

The 6,991-square-foot carriage house was moved off its site in June 2007 to make way for a multi-level parking garage. The garage isn’t the house’s only new neighbor: a 23-story residential tower called Ladd is scheduled to open in the next few months.

When redevelopment of the city block first threatened the carriage house with demolition in 2005, preservationists and community members formed Friends of the Ladd Carriage House, a committee of the Portland-based nonprofit Architectural Heritage Center/Bosco-Milligan Foundation.

“It took a disparate but united group of people to save this building, and it’s happening, so it’s exciting,” says Paul Falsetto, project manager at Carleton Hart Architecture and one of the founding members of the Friends group. “This is a building of the highest order, and it’s just damn cool looking.”

When John Carroll of Carroll Investment Company suggested the possibility of incorporating the historic carriage house in with the redevelopment plans, the developers of Ladd Tower, Opus Northwest, generously took on the increased costs. “While some of their costs will be recouped by the sale of the building to a new owner,” the Friends of the Ladd Carriage House website notes, “there will remain a significant shortfall which will constitute a direct, very tangible contribution by Opus Northwest to the preservation of one of Portland’s most treasured historic buildings.”

The plan to save the Ladd Carriage House included its temporary removal from the site (as well as the National Register of Historic Places) and its exterior restoration, overseen by Carleton Hart Architecture. Although the restoration plan presumed that the building would be purchased prior to its return to Columbia and Broadway, the building remains on the market.

“There have been nibbles,” says Jim Heuer, chairperson of the Friends of the Ladd Carriage House. The group is confident that once the restoration is completed this April, a buyer will come forward.

Listed at $2.4 million, the structure is being marketed for commercial uses such as a restaurant or entertainment space. Opus Northwest is currently working towards the re-nomination of the carriage house to the National Register, making it eligible for an estimated $400,000 in historic tax credits.