Clark Gable once suavely sold ties at one of its gleaming counters. Countless Oregon children stared in awe at its annual Santaland display. It was once the largest retail outlet west of the Mississippi. And now, the former Meier & Frank Building in downtown Portland will welcome Oregon State University into its historic arms.
The university signed the lease Monday for the second floor of the Meier & Frank Building with the property’s owner, KBS and Sterling Bay. CBRE served as the real estate firm in the transaction. The university will occupy the 39,509 square-foot space beginning Aug. 1, 2018.
The ten-story building rose at the corner of Sixth and Alder in 1909. The architect was A.E. Doyle, who also designed the Central Library, Reed College and the Multnomah Falls Lodge. By 1932 it filled the entire block. In 1950 it added the biggest bank of escalators in the West. In 2006 the store became a Macys Department store, which closed in early 2017.
“OSU is proud to be a contributor to the success of the Portland region,” said Oregon State President Ed Ray. “Our central location across from Pioneer Courthouse Square will build on many existing OSU programs and activities in Portland. We look forward to working even more fully with partners in education, industry and the community to serve unmet learner, economic and community regional needs.”
Oregon State’s offices in the Meier & Frank building will serve as a new home for existing Portland-based operations of the university, the OSU Extension Service, the OSU Foundation, the OSU Alumni Association and OSU Athletics. As well, this new location will include the OSU Advantage – the university’s private industry partnership and commercialization initiative – as well as some classrooms and meeting spaces.
“Serving the Portland region is part of OSU’s 149-year mission as Oregon’s statewide university,” Ray said. “Our work in Portland complements Oregon State’s teaching, research, and outreach and engagement mission and the work we do at our campuses in Corvallis and Bend – and major initiatives, such as the Marine Studies Initiative along Oregon’s coast and globally.”
The historic 15-story Meier & Frank Building is located between S.W. 5th and S.W. 6th avenues, and S.W. Alder and S.W. Morrison streets. The Nines Hotel occupies the 6th through the 15th floors of the building. While OSU will occupy the entire second floor, retail stores will occupy the ground floor and additional tenants will be located in the 3rd through 5th floors. Tri-Met’s MAX light rail lines serve the facility on three sides of the Meier & Frank Building block.
“KBS and Sterling Bay are proud to welcome Oregon State University to the Meier & Frank Building,” said Clint Copulos, KBS senior vice present and asset manager. “This is a classic downtown building and we are very excited about the redevelopment which reflects the uniqueness of the property and its location.”