In the early 1970’s, Liberty House closed its department store in the old Olds & King department store in downtown Portland and put the building on the market. Downtown Portland was struggling with retail competition from Lloyd Center—the first regional mall built in Portland—located on the close-in east side of town. Bill Roberts, a notable downtown property owner, offered to buy and demolish the building for parking, but his plans were derailed by then Mayor Neil Goldschmidt, who was committed to the revitalization of the retail core.
The Bill Naito Company offered to save this “white elephant” and acquired the full-block building at SW Tenth and Morrison in 1975 for the fair market value of the land less demolition costs for the building.
The initial scheme to subdivide the ground floor into small retail spaces and use the upper floors for warehousing for the family’s wholesale import business was soon expanded—first to incorporate the first three floors into a vertical specialty retail mall. The building was renamed “The Galleria” and reopened for business in 1976.
Later, when Nordstrom announced plans to build a new department store at Broadway and Morrison, the apparel manufacturer’s reps housed in the Royal Building were relocated to the upper floors of the Galleria.
The Company’s president, Bill Naito, became a leader in Portland’s business community and was instrumental in persuading the City to build a 500-car parking structure across the street from the Galleria and in building a sky bridge from the garage into the second floor of the building. He was also successful in convincing the City and Tri-Met to reroute the planned light-rail alignment to Morrison and Yamhill Streets stopping in front of the Galleria. Later, the Portland Streetcar alignment was located on 10th and 11th Avenue also stopping in front of the building.
In 1998, the Western Culinary School moved into the fop two floors of the Galleria. The Made In Oregon store is located on the ground floor and a new 11,000 square foot Brooks Brothers store is under construction on the Morrison Street side of the building.
Owner/Developer: Bill Naito Company
Project cost: $6.5 million
Program: Historic rehabilitation of a five-story, full-block, former department store into a specialty shopping mall and apparel showrooms
Architect: SERA Architects
Contractor: P & C Construction Co.
Financing: First Interstate Bank of Oregon
Federal Historic Tax Credits
15-Year Historic Property Tax Abatement