Following WW Story, the Former Home of Pattie’s Home Plate Cafe Has a New Tenant

The owner credits WW’s reporting for the deal.

St Johns Bridge. (Kumiko Shafer)

Every week, WW examines one mysteriously vacant property in the city of Portland, explains why it’s empty, and considers what might arrive there next. Except this week. We’re taking a Thanksgiving break. We’ll make it up to you with this update on a previously examined property.

When last we checked on the fate of the St. Johns storefront that once held Pattie’s Home Plate Cafe, developer Kevin Cavenaugh was trying to make up his mind.

Cavenaugh, who specializes in idiosyncratically named buildings with hidden alcoves, had similar plans for 8501 N Lombard St., long home to a diner that hosted monthly gatherings of the Western Bigfoot Society. But he was waffling. He wondered if a full rehab wouldn’t force him to charge a tenant too much per square foot: $2 instead of $1.

“The architect in me loves the new design,” he told WW in August. “The neighbor in me thinks that it’s inappropriate right now. But nothing fits worse than a vacant building, so I’d better make up my mind pretty quickly.”

He did. One day after WW’s story ran, the moped and scooter shop Sabatino Moto contacted Cavenaugh’s company, Guerrilla Development, about renting the 7,478-square-foot space.

Sabatino opened its new shop last week. “There’s nothing as cool as a shop full of new and used and vintage motorcycles and mopeds,” Cavenaugh now tells WW. “It’s an iconic image in an iconic corner space.”

Cavenaugh also owns the storefront to the west on Lombard, which once held clothier The Man’s Shop. He’s in talks about a new tenant for that space, too.

He credits WW’s reporting for connecting him to tenants.

“In essence, your article was a lovely boost,” Cavenaugh writes. “And the neighborhood is deeply appreciative of maintaining low commercial rent in these frothy financial times.”

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