Ambitious Green Building Project Hits Financing Roadblock

Ambitious Green Building Project Hits Financing Roadblock The plan to create the nation's tallest mixed-use green commercial property in Portland, Ore., was put on indefinite hold when the state legislature failed to approve a $37 million state bond issue to partially fund the project.

The Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce reports that the planned Oregon Sustainability Center – a seven-story, 130,000 square foot, $61.7 million project that was slated for construction at Portland State University's downtown campus – was to be financed through a combination of state, municipal and university funding. However, several state lawmakers raised concerns about construction costs and the project's economic viability. The state legislature is ending its current session today, without the bond issue being brought for a vote.

‘It may be a little ahead of its time,’ says Rep. Bruce Hanna, co-speaker of Oregon's House of Representatives. ‘If it really pencils out, why wouldn't the private sector finance and build it?’

The project was originally conceived to meet the qualifications of the Living Building Challenge, a certification system for sustainable developments maintained by the International Living Building Institute. However, Rep. Arnie Roblan, co-speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, has hope that the project will be revised and presented for future consideration.

‘This project may cost more per square foot, but it will only get cheaper after we do the first one,’ Roblan says. ‘I don't know whether they will keep going, but I hope they make it leaner and come back and ask again in 2013. It's one of those projects that will help all Oregonians.’

(Illustration courtesy of GBD Architects and SERA Architects.)


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