Mayor Charlie Hales met today with North and Northeast Portland leaders to discuss reviving a deal for a Trader Joe's grocery on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, four sources tell WW.
"That was part of the discussion," says James Posey, the co-founder of the Portland chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors. He attended today's meeting. "It was all positive. Most of the folks in the room were very pleased with the mayor's leadership."
The Portland Development Commission had completed a deal last November to sell a city-owned property at Northeast Alberta Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to California-based developer Majestic Realty as the site of a Trader Joe's.
The sale came at a $2.4 million discount, and the deal sparked backlash about the PDC's role in gentrifying historically African-American neighborhoods.
Sources now tell WW that Hales is pushing a revised plan for the Trader Joe's, this time with a pledge for affordable housing on another site.
UPDATE, 5:30 pm: Hales' office confirms a meeting with nearly 50 business leaders today, including members of the Portland African American Leadership Forum, which scuttled the first deal for the site.
The result? Hales is asking Trader Joe's to come back.
"One of the agreements that came out of the meeting is that the mayor would contact Trader Joe's and say, 'We wholeheartedly want that development,'" says Hales' spokesman Dana Haynes.
"And by 'immediately,'" Haynes adds, "I mean as soon as soon as that meeting ended, our staff began making calls down to Los Angeles."
Haynes says PDC executive director Patrick Quinton has pledged to add $20 million to the $16 million in tax increment financing dedicated to affordable housing over the next five years in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area.
(Note: This story originally contained an incorrect figure of $36 million already dedicated to affordable housing in the Interstate Corridor URA. That number came from the mayor's office.)
The urban renewal area includes neighborhoods surrounding Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.