The landmark Paris Fair building at the corner of Fourth and Oak in downtown Hood River has a new owner.
In a $1.7 million deal that closed Wednesday, Jeff Pickhardt and Chip Dickinson, doing business as Paris Fair LLC, purchased the property from longtime owner North Cheatham, according to commercial real estate agent Greg Colt.
The sale consolidates ownership of the southern half of the block between Third and Fourth, facing State Street.
Pickhardt and Dickinson started the dominos tumbling several years ago, when they bought the Butler Bank Building at Third and Oak. That property included parking space to the south up to State Street.
They later sold the building to Steffen Lunding, who currently has it leased to Aniche Cellars tasting room.
When they sold that building, they kept the parking lot to the south. They also sold Lunding the Bartmus Building, which sits between the Paris Fair and structures that house BCI Group and Twiggs, both under different ownership. In that transaction, they again kept the undeveloped parking space to the south.
Colt said Lunding has an easement for eight parking spaces on the property to the south of his properties.
In a conversation with Pickhardt on Saturday, Feb. 4, he clarified (from an earlier story) what Paris Fair LLC hopes to do with the property facing State Street. He said the ground level would support parking. Above that, the project would include multi-family housing. He isn’t sure about whether it will include any retail space.
The dream is to do something similar to what Pickhardt’s company, Key Development, did with a recent high-rise project near the east-bank terminus of the Burnside Bridge in Portland. That project, called the Yard, recently sold to a Thai investor, according to a story in the Portland Business Journal.
The Yard (visible on the home page of Key’s website) was planned with an eye to allocating 20 percent of the 284 units to “workforce housing.” That means that the other 80 percent of units would rent at market rates, but that 20 percent would rent for less to people making 60 to 80 percent of the city’s median income. Pickhardt said negotiations with the city led to tax abatements and a credit against system development charges offset the reduction in rents.
“So in Portland, if you’re spending $1,400 on a one-bedroom apartment, so workforce rate would make it $800″ Pickhardt said, to illustrate how it would work.
He said it would help people — “baristas and bartenders” — living in the city, but struggling to find affordable rentals.
Pickhardt says they first need to conduct financial analysis to see if such an approach would work for the Hood River project. To that end, they have hired architect Liz Whitmore to manage the project.
He said that feasibility and planning work could take up to two years before construction starts.
“Our first priority is taking care of the Paris Fair building, taking care of deferred maintenance and the existing tenants,” he said.
Pickhardt says they have no plans now to dedicate any of the Paris Fair to residential use.
“For now, we just want to maintain the existing tenants,” he said.