Portland developer Walter Bowen kicks in $375,000 to fund downtown parks study

The developer behind one of the largest current construction projects in downtown Portland has kicked in $375,000 to fund a master plan for the South Park Blocks.

Walter Bowen, president of BMP Real Estate Group, announced the contribution to the Portland Parks Foundation in a release today. The funding comes as part of the public benefit component of Bowen’s Broadway Tower project at the corner of Southwest Broadway and Southwest Columbia Street.


That project is a 19-story hotel and office building. Under construction since last year, the building will include a 180-room Radisson RED hotel and 175,000 square feet of speculative office space.

Broadway Tower has a higher Floor Area Ratio than permitted in the zoning for the area, but according to a write-up on Next Portland, BPM was able to transfer the FAR it needed from another nearby property. The developer is able to do that in part by showing some public benefit to the project, which is where the $375,000 contribution fits in.

“Parks are an essential ingredient to quality of life and provide an opportunity for all of us to recharge and then re-engage with the work we are passionate about,” Bowen said, in the release. “I am pleased that part of Broadway Tower’s public benefit will be to support developing a master plan that will create parks for all to enjoy.”

The master planning process, to be led by Portland Parks & Recreation, is scheduled to begin next summer. The South Park Blocks, according to the release, were set aside for public use in 1852 and are considered the city’s first parks. There are 12 blocks in total.

“Great parks in Portland depend on so many partners, and Mr. Bowen’s contribution will help guide plans for the South Park Blocks that will benefit future generations”, said Jeff Anderson, executive director for the Portland Parks Foundation, in the release.

Bowen, who also developed the Pearl West office building, expects Broadway Tower to be complete in October 2018.