Chown Pella Loft Condos
Guide to Chown Pella Loft Condos for Sale
Pearl District lofts are unique. Each has its own character. When you look at the Chown Pella Building, you might wonder a few specific things: first, why is it two different heights, and, second, who, or what, is a Chown Pella?
Perhaps a little history is in order . . .
While it’s possible to design a space that’s half four-stories tall and half six, it would be a little odd, and it’s not what happened there. The building started at NW 13th & Glisan with just the four-story portion. Its first tenant, over 100 years ago, was the Oregon Transfer Company (OTC). The group specialized in warehousing and shipping, mainly through the nearby North Bank Railway Terminal at NW 11th & Hoyt.
Business boomed, and almost immediately the six-story portion was added to meet demands, and ever since the uneven structures have operated together. Its developers were the city fathers: Ben Holladay, George Weidler, and William Halsey. Recognize the names?
The OTC remained in the building for decades, housing the products of Coca Cola, Wrigley, and Ponds. In 1979 the OTC outgrew the space, though, and a new tenant arrived: Chown Company.
The Chown Company had been in Portland since 1879. A family owned business, the hardware store opened at SW 1st & Main, later moved to 4th & Alder, and then to NW 16th & Flanders, where it still operates. Through the years the business sold hunting and fishing licenses, assembled crystal radio sets, and offered Portland its first electric washing machines.
After WWII the company acquired the Pella Window franchise as well as Overhead Door. It was the window and door division that the Chown Company moved into the unique two-tiered building at 13th & Glisan. To commemorate the arrival, the giant Chown Pella sign on the façade (still seen today), was painted. The Chown Company was housed in the building until 1988. By that time the Pearl District was changing yet again, warehousing and manufacturing vanishing, and galleries and live/work spaces taking their place.
In 1996 John Carroll converted the Chown Pella into 70 classic lofts. With ceilings ranging from 10 ½ to 17 feet, endless exposed brick, and heavy wood beams, his units boast the unique flavor of a building listed on the National Historic Register. As the piece de resistance, Carroll added a rooftop garden and deck that makes a perfect “getaway” in the heart of the city.
In combining the Chown Pella’s original materials and character with the most current structural and security features, Carroll has created a timeless space for urban dwellers to savor.
Both the Oregon Transfer Co. and Chown Company still operate today. The OTC boasts over a million square feet of food grade warehouse space. The Chown Company has showrooms throughout Oregon and Washington.
Neither group mentions the Chown Pella in its website. They’re clearly looking forward, not back. But a passerby, observing the building’s odd shape and name, would likely agree that each put its mark on this Portland treasure. Though just passing through, each company left its stamp, and, in doing so, lent more than a little wonder to our city.
In a time of planned developments and McMansions, isn’t it nice when buildings can give you a sense of wonder?
Jewel, of the Pearl!