Yeon Building Renovation

The Yeon Building, 522 SW 5th St in downtown Portland, was purchased by Jonathan Rose Companies in March of 2011 for $8.9 million. The 15-story, 130,000 sf building was about 50% vacant when the sale closed and for many years the building was considered a “zombie building” in commercial real estate circles. However the building had “good bones” and the purchase was an appropriate match for Rose’s real estate strategy, which invests in transit-oriented commercial property in centrally-located urban centers.

Built in 1911, the neo-classical building was commissioned by John Baptiste Yeon, a self-made lumber baron, and designed by prominent San Francisco architect firm Reid & Reid. At 15 stories it was one of Portland’s first high-rise buildings, and held the distinction of being the tallest building in Portland for 16 years after it was built. The building is clad in white glazed terra cotta, a material in favor at that time for its fireproof, durable and lightweight qualities. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1993.

The renovation work included the implementation of new sustainable systems and significant cosmetic improvements, including:

– New Ground Floor storefront façade
– Electrical, HVAC, and fire alarm upgrades
– Comprehensive Fire Life Safety upgrades
– Selective updated lobby finishes with the replacement of non-historic materials
– New public amenities, including: bike storage room, bike commuter showers, and a public conference room
– New multi-tenant floor bathrooms
– Finish and lighting updates to the tenant-floor corridors and elevator lobbies
– New Tenant Improvement standards for all future office renovations
– Renovation of the Management Office for Urban Renaissance Group