Developer Seeks to Build Music Venue at Site of Recently Displaced Homeless Village on Prosper Portland Land

30 homeless BIPOC Portlanders were displaced from the village last year because of plans for development.

The Central Eastside site that recently held a BIPOC village for homeless Portlanders could soon become a 3,000-capacity indoor music venue developed on land owned by the city’s economic development agency, Prosper Portland.

In publicly available documents, Beam Development describes the plan as a “major event entertainment” facility in a three-story, 59,000-square-foot building. That’s twice the capacity of the Roseland Theater, and almost the exact same capacity as the Keller Auditorium.

Two senior executives of Live Nation, the massive entertainment company that operates worldwide, were both listed on the city’s documents as parties involved in venue discussions.

On April 5, Hacker Architects submitted a pre-application with the city’s Bureau of Development Services for the concert hall, a step that was completed as of Tuesday. That means that while the plans are still preliminary, all of the involved bureaus needed to approve the site are aware of the plans. Prosper Portland tells WW that Beam Development, the group that has been identified as the likely developer of the three adjacent Prosper-owned lots, including the BIPOC lot, is seeking to build the venue.

A 38-page document summarizing the city’s response to the preliminary application, provided to WW by the Bureau of Development Services, offers notes from six different bureaus on the venue.

“It’s an opportunity to meet with the city and discuss what your plans might be, and confirm what type of land use review you’ll be subject to, where sewer and water lines are, what streets you can connect into,” explains Iain MacKenzie, an independent real estate watchdog. “It’s a gathering-information exercise early on.”

Below is a picture of the planned venue provided in the application to the city.

One question the applicant posed to the city was whether it could use an adjacent lot it owned for external parking for the venue. Prosper owns the two lots sandwiching the planned music venue; the lot to the south of the BIPOC lot was home to the Queer Affinity Village until recently, when it was transferred to a site in Southwest Portland.

Prosper Portland, while once one of the city’s biggest development powerhouses, has shrunk significantly as its urban renewal areas, the source of its tax revenues, have reached the end of their life spans. (Urban renewal has largely fallen out of vogue among city officials because of how it displaced communities of color in Portland neighborhoods.) Prosper has also failed to develop some of its recently acquired plots of land. That includes the 14-acre post office site in Northwest and Zidell Yards along the South Waterfront.

Meanwhile, the former residents of the homeless village were shuffled across town last fall due to what was then an undisclosed development plan. The tiny pod villagers, all of whom are BIPOC, now live in Northeast Portland.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Prosper Portland planned to construct a music venue. In fact, Beam Development is seeking to build the music venue on land Prosper Portland owns. WW regrets the error.