For months now, there's been speculation Portland's Alta Bicycle Share—the company to which we've pinned our oft-dashed bike share hopes—would be moving on. Reports sprang up this summer about the company's impending acquisition by a New York real estate firm, and local officials acknowledged they'd been briefed by Alta about the change.
Now it's apparently happened, according to the website Capital New York.
A real estate company has closed on a deal to buy Alta Bicycle Share, according to two knowledgeable sources.
REQX Ventures, a company run by people affiliated with Related Companies—developer of the Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards—and its subsidiary Equinox, will own all of Alta Bicycle Share, according to one of those sources.
It will, according to that source, increase the size of the CitiBike fleet from 6,000 to 12,000.
Neither REQX, Alta, nor Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, which was a party to the negotiations, would comment.
This might not be a surprise, but it's still relatively unclear what it means for Portland, which has been hoping in vain for a bike share system to materialize since last year (promised roll outs have been delayed twice, and there's no sign the city's got the sponsorship money needed to purchase and run a system).
Internal Portland Bureau of Transportation documents obtained by the Mercury show Mia Birk, Portland's former bike coordinator and vice president of Alta Bicycle Share, presented details about the acquisition by REQX in early August. Birk's presentation apparently touted millions in "upfront new investment" to the company once REQX held the reins, but it appears that's largely focused on New York's CitiBike system. Birk's presentation also mentioned the "building of a sales and marketing team to drive additional corporate sponsorships," which could be great, if it means someone can find Portland sponsors.
Other highlights called out, in a powerpoint presentation titled "Bike Share 2.0," and heavily redacted by PBOT for our consumption:
•A "board of directors with experience in turnaround and growth companies."
•An "augmented leadership team with deep operational, marketing, finance and technology experience."
•The promise that "REQX Ventures will commit to deliver to new cities and existing clients the next generation bicycle share system."
Seattle, which started the hunt for bike share around the same time we did and also tapped Alta, got an operational system earlier this month.