Oregon Sustainability Center gets 'reboot' with Interface Engineering

The new version of the Oregon Sustainability Center — dubbed The Innovation Center — will have a scaled back design.

The new version of the Oregon Sustainability Center — dubbed The Innovation Center — will have a scaled back design. 

The Oregon Sustainability Center project may be alive after all.

As Andy Giegerich reported for the Portland Business Journal's Real Estate Daily, news reports surfaced yesterday that the proposed high-rise Living Building project, which in March was left looking for financing from private partners, may have found one of those partners.

"It's kind of a reboot for the project," said Anne Mangan, a spokeswoman for the Portland Development Commission.

Interface Engineering, a green building construction engineering firm with offices in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, San Francisco and Abu Dahbi, signed on as a major tenant of the building. Interface has been involved since the early days of the project as its engineering firm.

A copy of the lease proposal, which Willamette Week obtained and posted on its site, indicates that the firm would pay $20.25 per square foot for the space, and Interface would make tenant improvements to the tune of $36 per square foot.

Omid Nabipoor, president of Interface, said the lease agreement was the latest offer from Interface.

"A sustainable building has to have sustainable rates," he said.

"Our goal would be to own our portion of the building as a condominium," Nabipoor said. But at a minimum, the company would agree to a 10-year lease.

The lease proposal also indicates that the clunky Oregon Sustainability Center name is being ditched for a new name. Nabipoor said the moniker "The Innovation Center" that shows up on lease documents is only a placeholder.

The ambitious building project, planned to built to the ultra-green standards of the Living Building Challenge, ran into trouble securing public financing — the Oregon Legislature in March rejected a plan to use Oregon University System bonds — for what would be an expensive piece of commercial real estate.

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