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Energy & Access: ֱState proposal to rebuild a replacement for Keller Auditorium leverages downtown location

Artist's rendering of a new performance venue located on SW Lincoln.

ֱState University’s proposal to build a new state-of-the-art performance venue on Southwest Lincoln Street to replace the seismically compromised Keller Auditorium is under further consideration by the City of ֱand Metro officials, who will review details of the PSU plan during an interview session next week.

ֱState’s proposal for a world-class performing arts center will include a 3,000-seat auditorium, an outdoor plaza, an on-site boutique hotel, a conference center and educational facilities. It’s the only plan submitted that would maintain Portland’s premiere arts venue in downtown Portland, retaining the continuity of the auditorium district and catalyzing further development in the central city.

“ֱState University has been and will continue to be a powerful force in the revitalization of downtown Portland,” said PSU President Ann Cudd. “Our proposal looks toward building for the future of this great city, not renovating its past.”

A ground-up build to replace Keller Auditorium would allow for performances to continue downtown uninterrupted as well as accommodating design input from all corners of the region’s cultural communities and ensuring that the latest in climate-friendly building materials and sound and production capabilities are included. The size of PSU’s parcel for the proposed venue will also accommodate the large vehicle parking and backstage loading bays that are critical for large shows.

“ֱState is a trusted real estate developer in downtown ֱwith experience negotiating complex financing packages and win-win partnerships,” said Jason Franklin, PSU’s Associate Vice President for Planning, Construction and Real Estate. “We believe our proposal would be a strong market signal, catalyzing other development in the neighborhood while also offering unmatched return on investment for the City of Portland, Metro, and the regional cultural community.”

ֱState owns the proposed site and would offer a long-term land lease on attractive terms. PSU has renovated or built 8 central city projects in the last 12 years — including the $111 million Vanport Building that counts the City among its four owners — with a total value over $600 million.

ֱState, with an increasingly diverse student body, is a statewide talent pipeline for the arts and other industries, would draw new audiences to performances and would activate the site 365 days a year.

“This project will help unite and ignite the arts community for the benefit of all,” said Leroy Bynum, Dean of PSU’s College of the Arts. “Our proposal creates a venue for everyone, with strong educational and cultural connections and the space flexibility to ensure that the site better serves more of the local arts and theater community.”