Portland construction firm Colas Construction, has been named prime contractor for the $8 million development slated for a plot of city-owned land at N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd. at N.E. Alberta Street.
The project aims to bring a Trader Joe’s grocery store as the anchor tenant, as well as other yet-to-be-decided features.
Andrew Colas, who also is president of the National Association of Minority Contractors in Oregon, says for years he has dreamed of building on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
“I’m from the neighborhood. I live in the neighborhood, so for me it was about, ‘how do we build something in this neighborhood and put people to work from the neighborhood?'"
California-based developer Majestic Realty Inc. chose Colas Construction as the contractor for the project. Majestic and the Portland Development Commission have taken fire over the deal. Anti-gentrification activists have criticized the plan, saying the city sold the land to Majestic at a giveaway price, and that a new grocery store won’t help long-time neighborhood residents.
Colas said he spoke to the new owners as soon as he heard about the development plan.
“It’s about providing good-paying, good-waged jobs,” Colas said. “We’ve always done that by hiring a really diverse workforce, and hiring a really diverse subcontractor base.
“People in our community need good-paying jobs. Us being the contractor on that job: it’s going to happen”