Tapping History to Sell New Development

Overview

When the Blitz-Weinhard brewery in Portland closed, the developers who purchased the five-block site in the emerging Pearl District turned to CFM for help in selling their ambitious plan. They wanted to renovate the historic brewhouse and undertake a massive sustainable development project.

Challenge

The reaction to a project of this scale by key stakeholders in the Pearl District and at Portland City Hall was unknown. The site was hallowed ground, having served as a brewery since 1862 before its owners closed it and sold the property to Gerding/Edlen, a respected developer. Carefully considered steps were needed to launch the project.

Approach

Following stakeholder research, CFM implemented a rollout effort that included a one-page newsletter that Bob Gerding and Mark Edlen, the developers, hand-delivered to many of the neighboring businesses. A visual PowerPoint used for briefings also was created. And, for a kickoff announcement, CFM produced a video featuring some of the best and funniest TV spots for Henry Weinhard beer. CFM also wrote and produced collateral materials that described some of the colorful history of the brewery, and the old Portland Armory, also part of the site.

Result

The strategic communications plan resulted in a continuous flow of news articles, almost all positive, about the development, including its significance as one of the City's largest historic redevelopment projects. Strong local support, including an editorial endorsement from The Oregonian, was secured. Today the Brewery Blocks is a national example of sustainable development.