Alberta Abbey, Portland, OR
Goal: Acquire a former church building in a high priority area of Northeast Portland to build upon and stabilize the Seller’s floundering non-profit arts organization to create impact and preserve affordable arts space that will be synergistic with CDP’s Alberta Street developments.
Located in the heart of Northeast Portland, the Alberta Abbey building is the former Mallory Avenue Christian Church which had been converted in 2013 to a neighborhood based performing arts and artist office space to nurture and preserve the art scene on Alberta as gentrification was rapidly pushing artists out of the community. The Seller had created the Alberta Abbey Foundation to master lease and operate the building but between a small and fragile Board of Directors and the Seller lacking the time and physical presence to invest the energy needed the building and organization were both struggling to survive. The building also had potential to be listed on the national historic registry, potentially providing long term protection of the important asset as well as providing a conduit for historic tax credits which could bring valuable financing of improvements to the table.
CDP has been working closely with a consultant, Grains of Salt to execute capital improvements of major systems and create more functionality with the goal of building out Alberta Abbey Foundation as a financially solvent and sustainable organization that in the future would be able to take over ownership of the building. Grains of Salt oversaw the renovation of an underutilized space in the building into a gallery/cafe that provides a welcoming amenity for the community and a very attractive concession space for event rentals. Small events are also held within the gallery space such as poetry readings and smaller performances. Alberta Abbey Foundation is now also hosting regular self-programmed community events such as movie nights.
-Wonderful historical building with the potential to be listed on the local and national historic registries
-An existing non-profit that could be taken over and reorganized
-An older building with failing systems and a significant capital improvement need
-An unconventional asset created a very limited market for potential financing