DJC Oregon I March 4, 2016
If things had gone differently for Patrick Kessi, he might have ended up as a stockbroker on Wall Street instead of a developer creating mixed-use projects in the Portland-metro area.
Kessi began investing money in the stock market while he was in high school and studied finance at the University of Portland. In the summer of his sophomore year, however, his life took a different turn. He bought a house that he rented out to some of his college buddies. One house led to two more during his junior year.
After Kessi graduated from college, he began working on single-family, duplex and four-plex remodels. Around 2003, he started doing mixed-use and multifamily developments. He hasn’t looked back since.
For Kessi, the projects he works on through his firm PHK Development are as much about making other people’s dreams come true as about realizing his own vision. While working on the design of Marvel 29, a mixed-use project in the St. Johns area of Portland, Kessi brought together residents as well as the owners of small businesses in the area. He took their suggestions – and their concerns – to heart.
For his current project, the Wizer Block development in Lake Oswego, he’s helping realize the goal of Gene Wizer. The former owner of the property wanted it to become a contribution to the city’s downtown area.
“He wanted a mixed-use development there,” Kessi said. “He wanted to bring people into the downtown core.”
Although Gene Wizer died last year, he did get to see ground broken on the 290,000-square-foot project as well as hear that the Oregon Supreme Court had ruled in favor of allowing work to move forward despite some neighborhood opposition.
“He heard that and he was delighted,” Kessi said.
Even in the face of opposition, Kessi’s buildings often win people over once the last brick is set in place, the last nail is hammered and the doors finally open for business.
For the Marvel 29 project, the strong ties Kessi had built with the community were evident when neighborhood residents turned out in full force recently to celebrate Marvel 29 being officially recognized as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum building.
“Sometimes we have to do tough things to do great things,” Kessi said.