Update 1/8/18 – Leon Capital has begun demolishing the former nursery on its 1.41-acre lot on Powell Boulevard in anticipation of receiving final approvals from the Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) for its three-story self-storage facility. While the company expects to receive its building permits in time to begin construction in May, residents remain upset about the status of the project due to the presence of squatters and criminal activity on the property since Dennis’ 7 Dees vacated, according to the source.
Graffiti, trash and broken fencing have marred the site, according to resident Patrick Dwyer. A mapping service provided by BDS indicates it has received three complaints since October, including one for homeless activity, the source reported.
Leon Capital had the graffiti painted over a few weeks ago, but the property was tagged again, according to Jake Walker, managing director. "To address the situation going forward, we have reached out to a security company about night-time patrols of the site," Walker told the source. "Additionally, our general contractor will be on site first thing Monday morning to clean up any debris on the site and board up the structures so they no longer entice people to sneak onto the property."
"We're going to hold them accountable," Dwyer said. "They are going to be a good neighbor, or they are going to keep hearing from me and others."
10/14/17 – Leon Capital Group, a Dallas-based real estate development and investment firm, is facing opposition from a group of residents in its quest to build a new self-storage facility in Portland, Ore. The company is in the design and permitting phase for the property at 6025 E. Powell Blvd., according to its website.
The site currently houses Dennis' 7 Dees, a landscape and garden center that’s closing next month until it finds a suitable place to relocate. Leon plans to build 109,500 net rentable square feet of storage space on the property, the Leon Capital website stated.
The South Tabor Neighborhood Association sent a letter to the Portland Bureau of Development Services outlining its concerns about the project. "This neighborhood, on both sides of Powell, is kind of an up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s had a lot of struggles. There’s been addiction issues, poverty and homelessness, but the neighborhoods are really trying to build," wrote Anet Margot Ris, one of the residents opposing the development.
A storage facility could set the area’s development back five years, Ris added, noting the “dead-end” zones around the building might attract vagrants. "There [are] no windows on the structure. You can’t see what’s going on inside the building in these small little units and, often times, people who don’t have a place to stay start to go in there; and there’s been an uptick in crime around these facilities because of that," she said.
The community already has plenty of storage facilities, but lacks housing and jobs, according to Amy Spears, who also opposes the project. "We have so many schools in this area. This is a residential neighborhood and, quite frankly, I feel like it’s a safety hazard with less eyes on the street and so much less vitality," she said.
The city has yet to approve any development for the property, according to David Austin, information manager for the Bureau of Development Services. A public hearing will be held as part of the approval process, he added.
Leon Capital launched its self-storage investment platform and acquired its first facility in 2015 in a partnership with Move It Management LLC, a Dallas-based self-storage management company that also owns facilities. It opened its first ground-up storage project earlier this year in Round Rock, Texas. The company also announced it has eight development projects in the pipeline that will comprise 790,000 rentable square feet of storage space.
Leon Capital has more than $1.5 billion in completed real estate transactions and assets worldwide. Its portfolio includes acquisitions, land development and existing building infrastructure in the multi-family, mixed-use, office, retail and self-storage categories.