What’s in Store for the Lloyd Center?

Back in 1960, Portland unveiled the future of shopping with the grand opening of the Lloyd Center. The shopping center was the largest in the country, with more than 100 stores. Over the decades, the former open-air mall has seen many transformations, including the addition of the food court and enclosing the space in the 1990s. Now, however, the future of the mall is uncertain.

The Texas real estate firm, EB Arrow, owed over $110 million to its lender, KKR Real Estate and Finance Trust, mostly stemming from renovation expenses from a 2015 revamp. Despite the upgrades, the shopping center has seen a steady decline in leases and traffic, the most recent being the Macy’s closure in 2020. 

When KKR initially repossessed the property from EB Arrow, they had planned to redevelop the 23 acre property into a mix of residential and office space. They even floated the idea of using it as a potential site for a Major League Baseball stadium, although talks of bringing a team to Portland have largely stalled due to the pandemic.

KKR’s redevelopment plans were put on hold, however, when Urban Renaissance Group – a full-service real estate company with offices in Portland, Seattle and Denver – took ownership. URG specializes in developing and managing commercial real estate properties, and they are no stranger to reimagining key Portland buildings. They previously worked on the Canvas office building next to Providence Park, as well as managed the renovation of the former Oregonian newspaper headquarters.

Rather than demolish and completely redevelop the Lloyd Center area, URG plans to keep the Lloyd Center and its 100 shops and businesses open. They understand the importance of the shopping center to Portland and its history, and so they want to preserve features like retail and coworking spaces as well as the ice skating rink.

“This is an amazing opportunity to invest in the heart of our city and we believe there is great potential for this uniquely situated property,” said Urban Renaissance Group’s Portland Managing Director Tom Kilbane. “We know many Oregonians have fond memories of Lloyd Center and we take seriously our responsibility for making sure it continues to be a community gathering place. As we begin the planning process, our ambition is to embrace and preserve features of the property that make it special, including retail, creative work spaces and ice skating.”

URG plans to solicit feedback from the community including businesses, neighbors and existing tenants. So far responses have been mixed. Some Portlanders feel that malls are becoming obsolete and that the property would benefit from redevelopment. Others, however, see the historical value of the mall, and would like to see it stay.

Press release said Lloyd Center and its 100 shops/businesses will remain open. URG considering how important the Lloyd Center is to Portland and history. They want to preserve features of the property like retail, ice skating, etc.

For now, there is no timeline about when to expect changes, and the Lloyd Center remains open. 

What are your thoughts? Are you in favor of preserving the Lloyd Center, or do you think the area would be better served by redevelopment. Comment below!

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