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Changes in the Works in Hillsdale Business District

[April 13, 2023]

Storefronts formerly housing Key Bank and Bank of America have stood empty for months now, and maybe you've noticed the "for lease" sign on the RE/MAX building?

Here's an update. Stay tuned for more in the future.

Southwest Portland Martial Arts/CrossFit Hillsdale is relocating their main gym from its 15-year home on Cheltenham to the former Bank of America space on Capitol Hwy. There it will take up residence two doors down from the school's annex campus, which hosts Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Systema, Teen MMA, youth summer camps and classes for infants through age 8. Hillsdale Shoe Repair will be sandwiched in between, a quirky arrangement that co-owner Lara Jones says suits everyone fine, including cobbler Chris' dog, Nemo. Renovations of the former bank space are expected to be completed by the end of the summer. Jones adds, "We look forward to enjoying a little more space in a more visible storefront location, and will be thrilled to have the two campuses sit (nearly) side-by-side."

Apparently, the school's green leafy logo has caused some local concerns that the location would soon be home to a marijuana dispensary. Says Jones, "Our bamboo school seal has been in existence far longer than the law has allowed for public dispensaries . . . but I thought I should write in to the Hillsdale News to hopefully help clear up any erroneous speculation!"

The RE/MAX building at the corner of Sunset and Capitol Hwy is changing hands. Those with knowledge of the sale declined to comment further until escrow closes in the next several weeks. RE/MAX Equity Group has relocated, with the exception of a small satellite office that remains onsite at the Capitol Hwy location, according to Managing Principal Broker Joanne Sterling.

Elliot Bachaumard, the commercial real estate broker handling the former Key Bank space, says the bank is in the process of vacating and that while there has been interest, there is no new tenant lined up yet. The branch closed last spring, combining operations with the Raleigh Hills location. The former occupant is now in the process of removing the vault and other furnishings. Bachaumard says the 4,500 sq ft space is suited to retail and he is hoping that any new business that moves in will be focussed on families and kids. "As a local resident I want to make sure whatever goes in fits with the neighborhood and that the space gets filled in a way that meets the interests and needs of the community."

After a promising start during the pandemic, Portland Camera Service has announced that it will be closing its doors. A message on the business's website and Instagram account attributes the closure to health problems and that hours of operation are reduced to Monday through Thursday, 10am-5pm. No final closing date was included in the message at the time of this writing.

In the midst of these changes to the landscape of the business district, Hillsdale Business and Professional Association (HBPA) vice president, and owner of the local State Farm Insurance office, Jacquline Fitzgibbon says she is getting more calls these days from businesses interested in increasing their engagement with the community. "They are reaching out to see how they can help Rieke (Fitzgibbons' children are students there), how they can help the business association, and get involved in community events."

Fitzgibbon is the lead on the HBPA's membership drive, currently underway. She encourages local business owners to join, not only to take advantage of marketing benefits that come with membership (linked business listings on the HBPA website and social media reposting), but also to share resources and important information. The business district experienced a mini-crime spree last month, resulting in at least three break-ins within one week. The HBPA provides a channel to share that kind of information that is not readily available elsewhere.

Membership is also a way to stay engaged with the community. "There’s a lot of conversation going on right now focussed on building a strong community. Membership in the HBPA is part of that."

—Valeurie Friedman


What are your hopes for the future of the Hillsdale business district? Let us know.


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