Brooklyn Tweed, purveyors of high-quality, unique yarn materials and knitwear design, left their home base in New Jersey and moved west to Portland seeking new headquarters space. Company owners knew nothing about Portland’s real estate market and turned to Melvin Mark Brokerage Company to help navigate the process. Faced with a tight time frame, company owners needed a unique type of product but within the realistic budget of a growing startup. In spite of a few ups and downs, the company is now happily housed in 4,500 square feet in northeast Portland. To learn more, read the full case study.
KPFF Consulting Engineers
In 2010, with roughly two years left on their existing lease at the US Bancorp Tower, KPFF Consulting Engineers wanted to secure their long-term office space requirements. With limited alternatives available, it became critical to start the evaluation process immediately.
Broker Tom Becic, who had represented KPFF for years, prepared a detailed market overview identifying existing and future space availability, considering several alternative properties. Through Tom, KPFF continued to pursue the alternatives, working through the space planning process, evaluating construction costs, estimating relocation expenses and performing a legal review of the lease. By creating a balanced negotiation, Melvin Mark was ultimately able to secure favorable terms for KPFF.
Previously located south of Portland, SAIF Corporation was looking for new office space in downtown Portland that was accessible to a diverse workforce and reflected the organizations commitment to sustainability. SAIF — Oregon’s state-chartered, not-for-profit, worker’s compensation insurer — wanted to find space that allowed it to reduce its carbon footprint, improve its energy efficiency to lower operating costs, and enhance comfort for its workers. Working with Scott Andrews and Maria Duncan, 34,964 square feet of the perfect space was found in Melvin Mark’s Crown Plaza.
SAIF’s President and CEO noted, “At SAIF, we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint. Having Melvin Mark as a landlord has made fulfilling that commitment even easier. As a tenant, we don’t have to pressure the landlord to make sustainable investments because they already share our philosophy of environmental responsibility.”
OIA Global, a leading worldwide transportation solutions provider, needed to relocate its global headquarters to a downtown location better suited to their growth and more reflective of their brand. In addition, it needed to meet a list of specific space and expansion requirements. Peter Andrews and Nick Ehlen developed a timeline and process in order to expedite a review and analysis, and move the firm into new space in 12 months or less.
Market conditions made it challenging to meet the company’s space requirements in a close-in urban environment. While the property search was still underway, Melvin Mark suggested OIA begin work with an architect right away to think through their space needs. The preliminary work helped in the evaluation of the property short list. Once the transaction was finalized, layout options were analyzed, furniture was purchased and the coordination of the renovation was locked in place. In the end, OIA Global moved in on time, and their 33,000 square foot lease was negotiated with exceptionally favorable economic terms — including free rent and tenant improvements.
GreenWood Resources, Inc.
GreenWood Resources acquires, develops and manages forestry assets. As a result, sustainability is ingrained in their corporate culture. So when it was time to move into a new office location, they were committed to creating a work environment that showcased their philosophical beliefs. Working with Melvin Mark Construction Company, their space was completely transformed using sustainable, and sometimes technically-demanding, materials. Their own FSC-certified wood was installed throughout the space in the desks and other furnishings. Their reception desktop contains sunflower seeds. Many of the materials used were Greenwood products not yet available to the general public.
Erickson, Inc., provides aviation services to a wide variety of commercial and government customers. When Erickson was considering moving the headquarters to Portland, Tom Becic at Melvin Mark was recommended by another client. The CEO appreciated Tom’s professional demeanor, calm disposition and immense market knowledge, hiring him to represent them in their search for a new headquarters, negotiating multiple expansion and lease extension transactions since then.
Frustrated with the parking situation at their former location in the heart of downtown Portland, McClenahan Bruer — a well-established technology-focused marketing firm — decided to make a move. Melvin Mark’s Water Tower building not only provided great parking, it also gave McClenahan Bruer wood floors, exposed beams, and an abundance of historic charm that was just right for their creative needs. They also enjoyed the bike parking, showers and other amenities. And their partners enjoyed a much easier commute.
Action Without Borders/Idealist.org
Idealist.org, a organization that connects people with nonprofits, needed a new location for their Portland-based web development team. Struggling in office quarters that were under-sized for their planned growth, they wanted a more collaborative creative environment. Equally challenging, they had just four months to find new space and relocate.
Idealist.org started the relocation process on their own without the help of a broker. Before long, they realized a property search is a complicated endeavor and tapped broker Peter Andrews to lead their relocation. Experienced in working with nonprofits, Peter helped them focus on what was really important and capitalize on an opportunity they could respond to quickly and grow into over time.
After an exhaustive search, Peter located a penthouse floor at the Historic Police Building that had the attributes Idealist.org was looking for. This included a large open outdoor patio area with dramatic views for events, as well as an open area for the work groups. Peter negotiated a competitive deal that allowed Idealist.org to build-out the space within their required budget.
Crown Plaza, a Melvin Mark property in downtown Portland, covers two blocks with walkways from building to building and a connecting skybridge to the adjacent Marriott Hotel. This mixed-use property combines office, retail and parking uses.
Recently, a long-time tenant moved out after many years, having occupied nearly 80,000 square feet, or nearly one-third of the building. Much of that tenant’s space was dated and needed an upgrade to today’s standards. While the tenant’s departure was a loss, it also provided an opportunity for Melvin Mark to launch a major building renovation, including mechanical systems, lighting systems, and a new lobby. Ultimately, the upgrades paid off, as the Oregonian Media Group leased half of the available space for its digital and print news operation. The location is especially appealing with its proximity to the waterfront, easy freeway access, neighborhood shops and services, spectacular views of the river and mountains, and a very attractive parking ratio for companies with employees who need to use a car.
In early 2007, Melvin Mark Brokerage Company assumed management and leasing responsibilities for the 48,000 square foot historic Haseltine Building. With an occupancy rate of just 73 percent, the challenge was to maximize the building’s value while increasing tenant satisfaction and retention.
A thorough assessment and analysis of the Haseltine’s internal workings was completed. The brokerage team toured all vacant spaces and generated a comprehensive list of necessary corrective items. The Melvin Mark team also met with existing tenants to determine their level of satisfaction, discuss current and future space requirements, and not only identify problems, but create solutions. From this, an extensive program was put into place to address maintenance, improve the building’s energy efficiency, and increase tenant satisfaction. By the end of the first year, occupancy was at 91 percent and the recommended improvements saw an increase in net income for the building owner by more than 75 percent over initial projections.
In 2012, the family law firm of Gevurtz Menashe purchased the historic Fleischner-Mayer Building, along with an adjoining parking lot, in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown district. Once Melvin Mark brokers Peter Andrews and Nick Ehlen helped Gevurtz Menashe complete the transaction, the legal firm moved their entire staff into the top two floors of the 38,000 square foot building. Melvin Mark handles property management duties for the new building owners, while Peter and Nick continue to co-market the remaining space to prospective tenants.
Oregon Anesthesiology Group
Oregon Anesthesiology Group, or OAG, fell in love with the Union Bank Tower when touring spaces for their new headquarters. But before they could commit, another company leased the space they wanted. Melvin Mark brokers Scott Andrews and Maria Duncan got to work. They were able to negotiate with another building tenant that was occupying a space too large for their needs. That tenant was happy to relocate to a smaller, more cost-effective space, while OAG was happy to take over the larger space. Mid-century styling, large windows and a full floor layout were very appealing to OAG, as were the amenities and security that comes with being in a bank building. Melvin Mark Construction was selected to handle the tenant improvements.
Oregon Board of Dentistry
The Oregon Board of Dentistry — the disciplinary board for dentists — had a long-standing relationship with the Oregon Medical Board, an existing Crown Plaza tenant. In order to share resources, the two agencies wanted to be close together. So the Oregon Board of Dentistry decided to make the move, selecting Crown Plaza for its premier location, building amenities, and access to a large conference room that met their needs for a quarterly meeting.
Oregon Health CO-OP
Oregon Health CO-OP is a new non-profit health insurance company formed to serve individuals as part of the Affordable Care Act. Because they needed to be up and running quickly in order to meet ACA timelines, they had to be in their space by a specific date. With limited time to search, Tom Becic at Melvin Mark was recommended by another client. The challenge was finding an appropriate space that met Oregon Health CO-OP’s many needs in the time frame available. Thanks to his knowledge of the market and connections to other brokers and landlords, Tom was able to evaluate the client’s needs, find possible alternatives and help them focus on the best option in One Pacific Square — quickly and efficiently.
eBay, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, evaluated Melvin Mark’s Fifth Avenue Building as part of its citywide search for office space. The challenge for broker and landlord rep Tom Becic was to quickly understand exactly what eBay needed and respond without hesitation. eBay wanted innovative changes to the building that would reinvent the space, taking out the existing improvements and creating a custom workplace from the ground up that would accommodate their office space requirements and long-term expansion plans. It was clear that Melvin Mark needed to show that they could think outside the box and do something different. eBay was thrilled with the company’s flexibility and ultimately chose the Fifth Avenue Building — starting with 20,000 square feet that has now grown to 70,000 square feet. In the end, Tom did his legwork and helped create value in the space that benefitted both parties.
Dull Olson Weekes – IBI Group Architects, Inc.
For more than 20 years, Dull Olson Weekes Architects preferred occupying office space in historic buildings. Although they loved the classic architectural style of older properties, these spaces did not serve the changing needs of the firm. DOWA wanted a new work environment that would reflect their commitment to sustainable design and offer a more distinctive, creative work studio. These features would enable the firm to recruit and retain the best professionals and showcase DOWA’s talents to its clients.
Broker Tom Becic interviewed the firm’s key people regarding criteria for their new office facilities, which helped the principals focus on the alternatives that best accomplished their goals. Tom also researched a variety of locations and several property types, and prepared a lease vs. buy analysis.
Tom identified an ideal space in the former Federal Reserve Building in downtown Portland. The building needed a complete renovation but offered many features on DOWA’s wish list. Melvin Mark negotiated a long-term lease for 13,000 square feet.
The Water Tower
In 2008, a local investment group that includes principals of the Melvin Mark Companies purchased the Water Tower building, an 115,000 sf John’s Landing landmark. Built in 1903, the former furniture-manufacturing warehouse had been completely renovated for office and retail users. Melvin Mark was assigned the property management and leasing duties – and faced its first challenge as the pressures of the recession turned over nearly 70 percent of the tenant base.
Melvin Mark quickly addressed the tenant stability problem and developed a plan for restoring the Water Tower’s reputation in the market. The solution involved a strong tenant retention effort, excellent customer service from property management, additional amenities, and development of a strategic pipeline of quality office and retail tenants suitable for the building.
With the building roster stabilized, and long-term tenants happy with the refurbished property, Melvin Mark attracted renewed interest from a range of office users. In each of the last several years, the Water Tower has enjoyed occupancy rates of 95 percent or better, along with market-leading rents for the Macadam corridor.
Perkins & Co.
Perkins & Co. had occupied their space in downtown Portland’s Pacwest Building for several years. During that time, the firm’s requirements continued to evolve until 2013, when they hired Melvin Mark broker Tom Becic to help evaluate their short-term and long-term objectives. Specifically, they wanted to consolidate and expand work groups and create a work environment to last the next 10-15 years. The challenge? To accomplish this at the existing location would entail a major remodel and disruption to the firm during construction.
Because timing was critical, Melvin Mark quickly engaged the landlord in negotiations, while also researching alternative properties. A “stay vs. move” comparison was prepared that included a best-case scenario market deal for alternative buildings. Based on Tom’s analysis, the firm chose to stay in their current space. Melvin Mark negotiated an expansion and long-term lease extension for 34,000 square feet.
Willamette University, Portland Center
In 2006, Willamette University made plans to open a Portland campus for its Atkinson Graduate School of Management. Melvin Mark broker Tom Becic was engaged to find a location that was attractive to urban professionals, accessible to the entire region, and offered plentiful parking, access to transit, and distinctive, productive classroom space. Tom found the school an excellent location in Portland’s Brewery Blocks.
In 2012, Tom was retained again to evaluate the school’s existing facilities and long-term space requirements. Ultimately, with program requirements changing and a lack of adequate expansion space available, the school decided on relocation. Tom’s challenge was to identify alternatives and to negotiate favorable lease terms in a tough landlord-driven market. He prepared a detailed market overview, including research on “off-market” alternatives. Ultimately, he found an ideal 5,000 square foot location in the RiverTec building. Along with helping Willamette negotiate a long-term lease, Melvin Mark also helped the school obtain favorable exterior signage rights and move into the new space within a very tight timeframe for a successful relocation.
Yost Grube Hall Architecture
After 27 years in a downtown Class A high-rise, Yost Grube Hall Architecture sought out new office space that reflected the company’s culture and met their sustainability and collaborative values. After scouring the market, they selected the 12th floor of the Union Bank Building, owned and managed by Melvin Mark. The quality and philosophy of building management was critical to YGH when making a final decision. Melvin Mark’s extensive building renovations, use of sustainable building materials, and implementation of energy efficiency measures scored high marks as the firm evaluated its options. YGH and Melvin Mark worked together to implement the firm’s design and ensure that building systems were in concert with their vision for the space. Walls were removed where possible to maintain an open work environment. Common areas are now infused with light thanks to abundant windows and glass. Other improvements include use of environmentally friendly materials, energy efficiency solutions, and water conservation practices.
The Oregonian Media Group
As part of a major reorganization, The Oregonian and its Oregonlive.com media operations, began a search for new space with “multi-media features that reflect the way journalism has changed.” Working with brokers Scott Andrews and Maria Duncan, the media company left its longtime location in downtown Portland and signed a 10 year lease for 40,000 square feet at Melvin Mark’s Crown Plaza property. With two full floors in the 11-story building, The Oregonian’s new offices house journalists as well as the advertising and marketing staffs. The redesign and tenant improvements were managed by Melvin Mark Construction Company, which include open-plan cubicle spaces, collaborative areas, private meeting rooms and a high-tech media training room. Natural light streams through huge windows with views over the Willamette. A large-scale O logo, mounted on wood panels made from reclaimed ship cargos, adorns the entrance. According to the media group, the Crown Plaza location gives them the opportunity to create a new work environment to foster the creativity and focus of their company’s new direction.
Jama Software, an enterprise software company that helps organizations build and deliver complex products, combined two of its offices in the Pearl District and relocated its headquarters to 34,629 square feet at 2&Taylor. The company needed to expand to accommodate its rapid growth and wanted a location that would help it realize its creative vision in Portland’s vibrant urban tech community. As the anchor tenant in Melvin Mark’s creative office redevelopment, Jama Software moved its operations in December 2015. The new location houses all company operations under one roof and provides expansion opportunities. An 8,000 square foot rooftop deck was an attractive amenity, which allows Jama the ability to host community events for technology groups local startups, and customers. Company founders are excited about their new headquarters in the heart of Portland, “in the backyard where many of us grew up.” Jama was attracted by the neighborhood feel of the Yamhill Historic District and the creative open, office space that blends modern amenities with an industrial feel.