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Two New Tenants Look to Infuse Creativity and Innovation in Portland’s Historic Kress Building

Kress Building, Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Carleton Hart Architecture, Cascade Energy, Downtown Development Group, Metropolitan Public Defenders, 638 SW 5th Ave.
Image courtesy of Nike

By The Registry Staff

The storied Kress Building, a cherished gem nestled near Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, is set to embark on a new chapter as it welcomes two innovative tenants, Carleton Hart Architecture and Cascade Energy. As the cityscape evolves, these companies are breathing new life into this historic landmark while paying homage to its rich legacy. With a strategic vision, a commitment to the revitalization of the building and the neighborhood, and an eye for innovation, these tenants may be able to make an impact on the struggling downtown Portland area, according to a recent report in Portland Business Journal.

Constructed in 1928 and designed by E.J. Hoffmand, the Kress Building, located at 638 SW 5th Ave., holds a cherished place in Portland’s architectural history. Its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places stands as a testament to its significance. Now, after undergoing renovations by the Downtown Development Group (DDG), the building is poised to witness a transformative shift. DDG’s dedication to preserving the building’s historic charm while infusing it with modern amenities lays the foundation for a harmonious blend of the past and the present.

Carleton Hart Architecture, a Portland-based architecture firm founded in 1994, is set to make its presence felt within the Kress Building. With a lease signed for a 10,000-square-foot office spread across the full fourth floor, the architecture firm’s move marks an exciting moment for both the company and the building itself. The 11-year lease also signals a long-term commitment to the space and a belief in its potential as a thriving hub for creativity and collaboration.

Brian Carleton, principal and owner of Carleton Hart, expressed the firm’s perspective in a statement, “We recognize our responsibility as architects to contribute to the revitalization of downtown Portland and look forward to working in our new office and location.” This sentiment captures the essence of the firm’s approach – not merely as occupants of a space, but as stewards of its legacy.

Joining Carleton Hart Architecture in this venture is Cascade Energy, a consultancy firm known for its commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability. Its lease, set to commence in December, encompasses 10,000 square feet on the fifth floor. As Portland and the broader region as a whole continue to prioritize environmental consciousness, Cascade Energy’s presence aligns with the city’s and region’s values, and the Kress Building could serve as an apt platform for its transformative work.

The Kress Building’s recent journey showcases the significance of adaptive reuse – the practice of repurposing existing structures for new uses. With the departure of the Metropolitan Public Defenders in 2021, DDG seized the opportunity to reimagine the building’s potential. Millions invested in renovations have paved the way for a dynamic shift that honors the past while embracing a forward-looking vision.

Matt Goodman, DDG vice president, expressed his excitement for the new tenants, stating in the report, “Carleton Hart has a long successful track record of innovative design, and we are thrilled they’ve decided to continue building their legacy at the Kress Building.”