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7/1/2013 10:23:00 AM
Academy selects architect to design new property
Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
St. Mary’s Academy is purchasing nearby city block.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
St. Mary’s Academy is purchasing nearby city block.

St. Mary’s Academy has hired an architectural firm to help redesign a downtown block the school is acquiring for $7.6 million.

GBD Architects will guide Academy leadership through a concept and schematics phase to assess how the space can best serve St. Mary’s programs, students and mission, President Christina Friedhoff said.

Located one block northwest of the school, the property at Southwest Sixth Avenue and Market Street was previously home to the University Station Post Office.

“How often will it happen that adjacent property becomes available?” Friedhoff said. “We’re so thrilled that we’re in this position.”

The current property owner is negotiating a tax deferral through a Section 1031 Exchange, so Friedhoff expects the sale to be finalized in September.

Right now, the school’s board of directors is exploring future program needs.

“We’re taking it slow because we want to be planful about the future,” Friedhoff said.
GBD is the architectural firm behind the Gerding Theater at the Armory and Columbia Sportswear headquarters in Portland, as well as the 2012 renovation of Maryhill Museum in Goldendale, Wash.

Previously, Academy leadership had discussed collaboration with neighboring St. Michael the Archangel Church on a mixed-use building on parish property. Those talks ended when Academy leaders decided to purchase the Post Office block.

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