Centennial Mills represents one of Portland's greatest chances to create a community-defining riverfront while preserving a unique piece of the city's history.
Centennial Mills was acquired by PDC from ADM Milling Company in 2000 using urban renewal and City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) funds. The property was acquired to fulfill the River District Urban Renewal Plan's stated objective of enhancing the waterfront with public open spaces and to facilitate connectivity between the River District, the Willamette River and the Willamette River Greenway.
In 2006, PDC together with the Bureau of Planning completed the Centennial Mills Framework Plan which outlines Portland's interest and aspirations for redevelopment of the site. The framework plan is the result of a six month public process and was approved by the Portland City Council in December 2006. The plan does not posit particular redevelopment schemes for the property. Rather, it outlines various development opportunities and lays out five key principles to guide redevelopment: Provide Open Space, Capture History, Define a Community Focal Point, Strengthen Connections, and Embrace Sustainability. Redevelopment of the site is also anticipated to further the goals of the city's Economic Development Strategy.
In March 2013, PDC and Harsch Investment Properties signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding, summarizing the intent of both parties to work toward a successful negotiation of a binding disposition and development agreement for redevelopment of the Centennial Mills site. Harsch is currently working on design and due diligence, with plans to present a refined concept for the site in early 2014.