A couple quick hits from the hot development news this week:

Portland Spaces reports that the Department of Education awarded the lovely historic Custom House downtown to the International School, a private language immersion school currently immersing 400 pre-k through 5th graders. The International School was the only group that submitted a full application to acquire the vacant property, says school rep Linda Bonder, in part because of the onerous application process — Bonder's application topped 150 pages. Also, although the school is getting the prime real estate for free, it will have to spend $8-10 million on renovations to get the 1901 building up to modern standards. As part of the agreement, the school must "protect the historic nature" of the Custom House and will not change the outside of the building.


For the children!

Also, Neighborhood Notes reports that this is coming to Alberta Street:


The office/retail development dubbed "Alberta Central" is replacing the 16th and NE Alberta block now home to this dilapidated but character-rich former church:


photo via Portland Ground

The space is leasing for $17-25 a square foot and looks pretty okay, I think, (boring, but pedestrian oriented and the right scale at least) except that developer Nate Celko refused to answer questions about the project and hung up the phone on me, which didn't exactly make me warm up to the project. Celko holds the business license on six buildings in town, including the Hawthorne space home to Naked City Clothing. If you've worked with him before, feel free to add your perspective to the comments. I'm curious.