The Rich Building - How We're Doing It
The Nuts and Bolts
Innovative Housing has been seeking a development opportunity that didn't require us to tap scarce affordable housing resources and this is it! IHI is leveraging its own funds, along with private debt, to develop 34 studios that will provide workforce housing sorely missing in the Old Town/River District area. IHI's goal is to develop housing more economically and efficiently than we are able to when using highly restrictive government funds. Our current proforma's show that we will be able to redevelop the Rich at a cost of less than $75,000/unit (including acquisition), which is about half of what it costs to develop a similar new unit. Because we are not using restricted funding, IHI also has the maximum flexibility in who we house - these new studios can be home to students (for example, those enrolled at the newly developed Oregon College of Oriental Medicine just a block away) and working people who don't make enough to live in the Pearl but want to be close to jobs or simply live in an urban environment. Because we are a mission driven organization, we will charge affordable rents, but we won't have to burden residents with annual income certifications and other paperwork that is typically required at affordable properties.

A Cool Mix of Old and New
Luckily the bones of this old building are in good shape. IHI plans to retain as much original material as possible, refinishing fir floors, repairing and retaining original wood windows, and reusing historic unit doors. The original and current unit configuration consists of 42 single room occupancy (SRO) units, which means small rooms with no bathrooms or kitchens. IHI will be combining two units to create one larger, studio apartment and adding kitchenettes and bathrooms to every unit. The old steam heat system will be decommissioned and radiators will be replaced with energy efficient radiant cove heating. Ceiling fans, stylish cabinets, new paint schemes, and efficient pendant lighting will bring comfort, convenience, and a modern edge to the apartments.

What is Innovative?
IHI is extending the second story light well down to the first floor to create a new outdoor courtyard. Doing this provides access to eight new ADA adaptable/accessible ground floor units and an opportunity to tie the new courtyard walls into the floors, walls, and roof, seismically strengthening the building. It also creates outdoor dining space for a new restaurant that will anchor the commercial space at the corner of NW 2nd Avenue and Couch.

Simpsons fans may recognize the building from the Blowfish episode. A sushi restaurant that previously occupied the corner space was featured in this animated classic. More recently, television audiences will see The Rich on Grimm, a new series on NBC, which is using the vacant building as a film location.

We will update our progress periodically - thank you for your interest in our work!