Zidells plan new buildings that could permanently alter waterfront skyline

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Zidell family, which owns 33 acres at South Waterfront, is planning to build an apartment building and an office building, Portland Business Journal has learned.

The family hopes to build the two new buildings near The Emery, an apartment building with retail units on the ground floor.

Matt French, a fourth-generation member of the family, said the two new buildings will be a similar scale to The Emery.

The Emery features seven stories that hold 118 apartment units.

French said the family is excited about the rare opportunity to develop an urban neighborhood.

"It's going to be a very visible project with the views across the water so we are really interested in making a statement," he said. "We have a lot of creative license down here."

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As much as anything, the announcement hints that the Zidells are following through on sweeping plans to develop the prime site. Jay Zidell, the family's patriarch and owner of the Zidell Marine property that's being redeveloped, envisions a bevy of restaurants and office buildings on the South Waterfront acreage.

Assuming the plans are approved by local government authorities, French said he believes the apartment building could be built in as little as two years. The office building may take longer, as potential tenants will need to be found in advance, but French said four years might be a realistic timeframe.

Possible tenants for the office building may include organizations that would benefit from the proximity to Oregon Health and Science University's new 500,000-square-foot Collaborative Life Sciences Building.

The new structures could capitalize on recent leasing successes at the Emery. The building, which opened last summer on Southwest Moody Avenue, is now 95 percent occupied.

Four of the retail units have been leased by Lovejoy Bakers, Cha Cha Cha restaurant, Fieldwork Flowers and Greenleaf Juicing Company. Two spaces are still available.