Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seen from the MAX Yellow Line, Portland's Big Pink.

Saturday on the way to get my flu shot at Kaiser Interstate, I decided to try holding the camera next to the window of the MAX train, pointing it up towards The Big Pink. Oh, joyous serendipity! I got a decent photo of the building and the parking garage next to it. Read below so you'll understand why it doesn't look pink at this particular moment, and why it has that nickname. The yellowish rectangular spot is the reflection of a fluorescent light in the MAX train.

From Wikipedia: The US Bancorp Tower is the second tallest skyscraper in Portland, Oregon. It stands at 536 feet (163 m) with 42 floors. The building has nearly 1.1 million square feet (69,000 m²) of office space inside, making it the largest office building in Oregon in terms of volume, and the second tallest building in Oregon, with only the Wells Fargo Center exceeding its height.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) with Pietro Belluschi as a consultant. The tower opened in 1983 with construction costs of $128 million. At first the building served as the national headquarters of U.S. Bancorp, then the regional headquarters of that organization after a 1997 merger moved the corporate offices to Minneapolis, Minnesota. U.S. Bancorp has 480,000 square feet (45,000 m2) leased until 2015.

Perhaps the most unusual features of the building are its shape and color. Pietro Belluschi was most concerned about the play of light and shadows on its surface; meanwhile, the SOM team had to work with a uniquely shaped lot due to the street grid. The meshing of these two concerns led to what has been called Portland's most dynamic building. Because of the street grid, the tower features no right angles in its parallelogram footprint. This, in turn, makes it look either extremely slender or wide depending upon your viewing angle. Belluschi carefully selected the glass and granite for the exterior facing. The windows can absorb or reflect light depending upon how much light is upon them, while the surrounding granite may appear darker or lighter than the window pieces depending upon the time of day. The building can be described as being pink, orange, purple, or even gray all in the same day. The unusual pinkish color earned the building the nickname "Big Pink", after an album by The Band.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the top floors held the headquarters of Louisiana-Pacific. Since a $4 million renovation in 2002, the thirtieth floor of the tower has been occupied by the Portland City Grill, Portland's top-grossing restaurant. It is often cited as the restaurant with the best view in Portland. (Lamont and Leland both used to work at Portland City Grill.)

The building was purchased by JPMorgan Asset Management in August 2006 for a price of $286 million. It was previously owned by Unico who purchased it in 2000 for a price of $165 million. Currently, 92% of the building is occupied.
On September 9, 2008, LaSalle Investment Management entered a purchase partnership with Unico Properties for $285 million to acquire the building.

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