In September 2016, Old Town karaoke mainstay the Boiler Room was unceremoniously bounced from its long time home at the corner of Northwest 3rd and Davis—and then nothing happened. For nearly a year and a half, the property has sat unoccupied, though a recent flurry of noisy construction in the space has proven troublesome for the building's other tenants.
Today, San Francisco-based Swift Real Estate Partners—the company that had snatched up the Boiler Room's building and a handful of other Old Town properties—have apparently sold the building to another owner. But the long-rumored plan for the space appears to be official: Chinatown is getting a Starbucks.
Tenants of the building have been informed the ubiquitous coffee chain will occupy the vacant space in coming months, becoming the fifth Starbucks between I-405 and the Willamette River, north of Burnside (counting one in the Pearl District Safeway). A representative with Templeton Property Management, which is now managing the building, said on Thursday he'd call us back when asked about the move, but failed to do so.
Old Town, which has long served as the city's social services hub, has also been known as Portland's "entertainment district" due to the proliferation of bars and nightclubs along NW Third. But the neighborhood has often pined for businesses that would increase foot traffic in the daytime. Its pursuit of that goal is one reason why the Old Town Chinatown Community Association is resisting officials's plans to create a large new 200-bed homeless shelter in the neighborhood.
Starbucks might be new to Chinatown, but coffee certainly isn't. In fact, Starbucks wouldn't even be the only coffee offering at that intersection. The Society Hotel across the way has a perfectly charming cafe that serves coffee and sandwiches. Good cookies, we're told.