It was late 2013 when the Rose City Rollers (RCR) officially began their search for a new home. The RCR Executive Director, Kim “Rocket Mean” Stegeman, began by seeking the aid of a real estate agent. She came upon Jon Rubey, a real estate agent with a proven history of identifying solutions for this type of entertainment use, from Colliers International. After discussions with him, it became evident that the RCR needed to truly define what they were looking for. Rocket Mean soon put together a group of skaters and board members, creating a formal search committee.
In early 2014, a meeting was held between the search committee and Jon Rubey. The outcome of the meeting lead to a formal document outlining all of the needs and wants for RCR. Also to come from the meeting was a more defined communication line, with Rocket Mean becoming the point of contact for the search.
Rose City Rollers New Venue Requirements:
Building Size: 16,000-20,000 sq ft rectangular building. (For reference: Hangar is 11,000 sq ft, Track 8,000 sq ft).
Structural Details: 20 foot ceilings, minimum, void of pillars (at least the middle 10,000 sq ft).
Minimum Building Amenities: Available space for seating on at least 3 sides of the 110 foot x 90 foot track. Bathrooms, or at least the appropriate plumbing for installation of bathrooms.
Location: Easy-to-access property from major roadways. Close access to public transportation and bike-friendly.
Location preference: Southeast Industrial area, ideally close-in
Event Seating: 1000-1500 person capacity – ideally bleachers would be retractable from the side-walls
Flex Space: Ideally the space would be able to accommodate 2 tracks for practice
Second story mezzanine seating (capacity is flexible)
2 locker rooms that can each accommodate 20 players
Storage: at least a 100 sq ft
Lighting: preferably in the 80,000 lumens area
Retail space with outside/street-front access
Office and meeting spaces
Security: needs to be able to be locked down
Other Concerns / Ideas:
Parking/Parking Agreement with possible neighbors
Formulate an agreement with other clients to give access to meeting rooms when not in use.
Make space available to other non-profit groups
The Search Timeline
There are many steps involved in RCR finding a new home. All of the properties that have been considered thus far have not made it past Step 2. Here are simplified steps in the process for RCR to find a new home:
STEP 1: Find a location
STEP 2: Conduct preliminary evaluation of building and compare with goals of the league.
STEP 3: Negotiate economic terms of a lease and improvements with owner.
STEP 4: Evaluate property and actual requirements for building modifications.
STEP 5: Officially put together a design team (architect, general contractor and engineers).
STEP 6: Design modifications, construction permitting, etc. (This will take the most time).
STEP 7: Construction of building modifications.
STEP 8: Move in!
Jon has been able to locate numerous potential properties, but only a select few fit all the criteria. Three of these properties (shown below) have been found and inspected by Rocket Mean and Jon. Let us take a look at each of these properties and evaluate their Location, Value, and Potential:
NOTE: All of the potential properties would be a larger equivalent to the Hangar with little setup and teardown for the events.
Property: “Sandy” – 2316 NE Oregon Street (NE 24th & NE Sandy) – Portland
The property is close-in in the NE quadrant with a fair amount of parking and very good access to public transportation. It is conveniently located directly adjacent to Interstate 84, while also close to neighborhoods and local businesses with great biking access.
The rent would be too high once required improvements were completed for what RCR is looking for, but there is 20,000 square feet of space, which is enough for two tracks. Some major renovations would be required to add office space, retail space, and prepare the track space. Some major renovations include removal of a large elevated slab and metal support columns running the length of the main room.
The space has bathrooms, meeting rooms, storage, and additional spaces for a skate shop, bar, chiropractic, training rooms, and more. This new home would be more than adequate to meet the expansion goals of RCR. The addition of a skate shop and bar in this already commercial area would improve the fan experience by attracting fans and casual patrons to the property on non-event days.
Notes: There would need to be a large amount of interior structural work to be completed. Due to the extent of the work needed for their occupancy the Landlord declined to pursue this opportunity.
Property: “Milwaukie Building” -9592 SE Main Street, Milwaukie
The property is located just outside of Portland, but very close to the center of the RCR fan base. The industrial complex has a good amount of parking and is located directly off of Highway 99E. While this is great for car commuters, it’s not friendly to pedestrian and bike traffic. However, it is nearby to the TriMet and Park & Ride station under construction.
The rent is high, but the space is move-in ready with minimal renovations to do. The space is 30,000 square feet of open space, with an additional 4,900 square feet for offices.
The building offers additional space for creation of a skate shop, bar, training room, etc. However, it is located in an industrial area, not catering to daily pedestrian traffic. Similarly, the space is plenty large, but there are no marked features that would significantly improve the fan experience.
Notes: This property was not looked at in depth due to the high rent and it not being located in the City of Portland.
Property: “Division” -2705 SE 8th Avenue (SE Division & SE 8th), Portland
The property is located just in the heart of the RCR fan base and in close proximity to the growing SE Division street area. There is plenty of parking available and it is only steps from the new MAX line under construction and major bus lines.
The rent is high, and there is a lot of building renovation that need to be done. The building does, however, have enough open space for two tracks and additional room for RCR amenities. This building offers plenty of capacity that RCR wants.
The building offers additional space for creation of a skate shop, bar, training room, etc. The space does meet the current needs of RCR and it is located in a growing part of Portland. The close proximity of this venue to current popular areas will make a great setting for attracting fans and casual patrons to the property on non-event days.
Notes: This property is the most recently viewed property; however, this building is in high demand and will be able to bring in rental rates well above the budget of RCR. The ownership is willing to wait for the right tenant in order to achieve the upswing in lease rates that is occurring, especially in the close-in markets.
Unfortunately, RCR still hasn’t found a property with the perfect mix of location, affordability, and potential for expansion. Once we do, there’ll be additional work to be done to modify the space to suit our needs. This’ll take time and money — not to mention a willing landlord!
As the market continues to get stronger, rental rates will continue to climb so it will be important to continue to raise support and most importantly funds in order for a new home to be secured.
How You Can Help
Here are some ways you can help:
Look for yourself: If you know of, or come across a potential location, send an email to Rocket Mean: firstname.lastname@example.org
Provide project support: If you have a skill that may fit in with any of the steps listed above, send an email.
Contribute: Any tax-deductible donation to Rose City Rollers can go toward the new home.
WRITTEN BY TYSON LEGGATE