Brewery Blocks Selected As Winner in 2014 Global Award for Excellence

Oct 29, 2014

The award is a shared recognition between Gerding Edlen and GBD Architects

PORTLAND, OR October 29, 2014 – Portland’s iconic Brewery Blocks redevelopment has been selected as a winner in the 2014 Urban Land Institute Global Awards for Excellence competition, widely recognized as the land use industry’s most influential recognition program. Thirteen real estate developments from around the globe, including six in North America, four in Europe, and three in Asia, have been selected for this prestigious award.

The award is a shared recognition between Gerding Edlen, a Portland-based real estate investment and development firm, and the local architecture firm who designed the project, GBD Architects Incorporated (GBD). The Brewery Blocks comprise a thriving and sustainable mixed-use, urban community in Portland’s Pearl District. The development includes seven buildings on five contiguous city blocks and features renovations of the historic Portland Armory building and the old Blitz-Weinhard Brewery complex.  Uses include retail, office, residential, cultural and performing arts spaces totaling more than 1.7 million sq. feet. The redevelopment has become an iconic urban destination, enlivened with vibrant streetscapes and connected to the rest of the city by a smart transportation system.

The ULI Global Awards, now in its 36th year, recognize real estate projects that achieve a high standard of excellence in design, construction, economics, planning, and management. "The Brewery Blocks was a very complex and innovative project and one that exemplifies our firm's values of place making, 20-minute living and environmental sustainability," says Mark Edlen, CEO of Gerding Edlen. "It's been extremely rewarding for us to witness the project's enduring success over the years and for it to be honored with this award, in the company of other such remarkable projects."

When Gerding Edlen acquired the five blocks, nearly 15 years ago, there was little structure to sustainable building within the industry. Long recognized as a pioneering initiative, the Brewery Blocks was amongst the first concentrated approaches to the development of LEED certified buildings. Evidence of the Brewery Blocks success is found in the positive financial returns for investors and in the dividends that continue to be paid to the community in the form of a walkable, livable and sustainable neighborhood. As well, these five blocks have a chapter in the history of sustainable development, with The Casey recognized as the first Platinum LEED high-rise condominium in the country and the Gerding Theater - named in honor of the firm’s co-founder, Bob Gerding and his wife, Diana in recognition of their lifelong commitment to the arts – is the first building on the National Register of Historic Places to achieve LEED Platinum.

This project was successful in so many ways, but none more than by the realization of a courageous and aspirational vision,” says Phil Beyl at GBD Architects, “Our client was confident that sustainability, coupled with strong urban design principles, had a highly valued place in the commercial market. At a time when LEED was little more than in its infancy, Gerding Edlen proved to a long list of doubters that inspired and responsible urban development could be made to be economically viable.  They proved that there was a deep market of responsible business owners and urban dwellers who were yearning for the product to be made available to them.”

The Brewery Blocks exemplify the type of development that helped Portland recently win the C40 Climate Leadership Award for Sustainable Communities. The C40 award celebrated Portland’s strategy to create a healthy connected city of complete neighborhoods that give all residents safe and convenient access to the goods and services needed in daily life, and build sustainable, resilient, and low carbon communities.

“We are proud to have partnered with Gerding Edlen and GBD Architects on this seminal development in Portland’s Pearl District”, states Patrick Quinton, Executive Director for the Portland Development Commission. “The Brewery Blocks project epitomizes our approach to urban development and serves as one of the best examples of Portland’s ’we build green cities’ brand.”

The competition is part of the Institute’s Awards for Excellence program, established in 1979, and based on ULI’s guiding principle that the achievement of excellence in land use practice should be recognized and rewarded. ULI’s Awards for Excellence recognize the full development process of a project, not just its architecture or design. The criteria for the awards include leadership, contribution to the community, innovations, public/private partnerships, environmental protection and enhancement, response to societal needs, and financial viability.

The winners of the 2014 ULI Global Awards for Excellence (developers and architects in parentheses) are:

  • The Brewery Blocks, Portland, OR, USA (Developer: Gerding Edlen; Designer: GBD Architects Incorporated) – A sustainable mixed-use urban community that renovated and created a neighborhood in a deteriorating warehouse district.
  • 300 East Randolph, Chicago, IL, USA (Developer: Walsh Higgins & Company; Designer: Goettsch Partners) – A two-phased, vertically expanded office tower located in the city’s East Loop district.
  • Cedar Gateway Apartments, San Diego, CA, USA (Developer: ROEM Development Corporation and Squier Properties, LLC; Designer: Silber Architects) – An environmentally friendly, multifamily apartment complex constructed in contemporary design to complement adjacent downtown buildings.
  • Corvin Promenade, Budapest, Hungary (Developer: Futureal Group; Designer: Futureal Group, Rév8, et al) – Regeneration project in the heart of Budapest, creating a civic center for the city’s 8th district.
  • GLP Misato III, Misato City, Japan (Developer: Global Logistic Properties; Designer: Global Logistic Properties, et al) – A state of the art, environmentally conscious logistic facility that aims for both business efficiency and environmental awareness.
  • Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, Long Beach, CA, USA (Developer: Long Beach Judicial Partners LLC/Meridiam Infrastructure; Designer: AECOM) – An environmentally friendly, public building delivered through an innovative public-private partnership.
  • Mercado do Bom Sucesso, Porto, Portugal (Developer: Urban Market Company et al; Designer: Ferreira de Almeida, Arquitectos LDA) – A renovated mixed-use, public building that incorporates its original function as a fresh good market with retail, hotels, and commercial space.
  • Sixty London, London, UK (Developer: Bath House Development Limited; Designer: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates) – Commercial office space that incorporates one of the area’s historic stone gatehouses.
  • SteelStacks Art and Cultural Campus, Bethlehem, PA, USA (Developer: Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority; Designer: KostowGreenWood Architects, et al) – A renovated public arts focused campus that incorporates the city’s old steel works.
  • Tamar Development Project, Hong Kong, China (Developer: Chief Secretary for Administration’s Office, HKSAR Government; Designer: Rocco Design Architects Ltd.) – An intricate complex facility that incorporates various government buildings along the city’s water front and harbor.
  • The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA, USA (Developer: Wilson Meany; Designer: EHDD Architecture) – An environmentally friendly development project on a historical site that now houses an internationally renowned museum of science.
  • Tjuvholmen, Oslo Norway (Developer: Tjuvholmen KS/AS; Designer: HRTB AS Arkitekter Mnal, et al) – A new development project that renovates and recovers the city’s waterfront.
  • Zuellig Building, Makati City, Philippines (Developer: Bridgebury Realty Corporation; Designer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, et al) – A sustainable, office development designed as rental property for multi-tenant use.

About GBD Architects Incorporated:

Established in 1969 in Portland, Oregon, GBD Architects Incorporated (GBD) is a regional architecture, interior design and space planning firm dedicated to sustainable design and smart growth; a diverse group of professionals united to design thoughtful, sustainable and responsible projects. GBD has a 15-year history of partnering with Gerding Edlen in creating innovative and pioneering private development projects.

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute ( is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 32,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

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Gerding Edlen

Gerding Edlen is a leading real estate investment, development and asset and property management firm recognized for its expertise in creating and owning highly sustainable, urban infill, office, residential and mixed-use properties. Founded in 1996, the firm engages a socially responsible approach to real estate by cultivating properties that strengthen communities, minimize impact on the environment and add profound value to residents and tenants. Gerding Edlen’s efforts are guided by a set of criteria, known as the Principles of Place, where community plays a pivotal role alongside design, technology and sustainability in the success of their properties. Gerding Edlen’s development entity is a recognized national leader of sustainable development, which includes more than 75 LEED certified or certified pending properties. 

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