This isn't happening:


Instead, we're stuck with this:


The DJC reports that the deal for a downtown Uwajimaya has fallen through, after years of work between the Portland Development Commission and developer (and years of getting our hopes up).

The PDC had been trying to swing the $80 million mixed-use project since 2003, working with Sockeye Development to plan to turn a surface parking lot at NW 4th and Couch into a building with housing the famed Uwajimaya Asian grocery and 140 apartments. The deal ran into trouble in 2009 and the PDC tried a "creative financing" scheme to save it, which actually looked good for a while. Last year, the grocer and the developer signed a letter of intent to make the building a reality, but now it has all fallen apart.

Uwajimaya pins the project's collapse on the economic downturn and its slow performance in other stores. The PDC was slated to give the project $8.4 million in urban renewal dollars from the Downtown Waterfront Urban Renewal Area.

Sigh. I can't think of any upside to this, besides that the $8.4 million can now go elsewhere... except that this is the perfect project to receive that kind of urban renewal money. Think of the lost potential! The major grocery store and apartments on that block would have brought down crime, as it creates more eyes on the street. It would have been a good step for Portland's official Chinatown to actually have new Asian development. It would have made what's now a surface parking lot into a major destination. And it would have put aisles of cheap, strange foods at the fingertips of those of us who work downtown. Augh! The future memories of eating dried squid straight from the bag while watching Old Town club-goers walk by are slipping away.

Thanks to Graham for the heads up!