Merlin Radke donated his auto parts store to Warner Pacific University. Now a Vlogger owns it.

Address: 6666 N Columbia Way

Year of construction: 1925

Square feet: 14,500

Market value: $2.4 million

Owner: Antoine Doyen

How long has it been empty: 7 years

Why it’s empty: Given to college

For decades, this curious triangle-shaped building sandwiched between two busy St. Johns streets housed an auto parts store owned by an eccentric named Merlin Radke. When Radke passed away in 2017, he left much of his estate behind, including this one-story beige building at Warner Pacific University. (Radke’s attorney, Michael Peterson, recalls that Radke began attending church later in life. He never married or had children.)

Andrea Cook, former president of Warner Pacific, first met Radke on campus as she walked to her car in 2006.

“He stopped me and said, ‘What would it take to get my name on a building?’ I learned long ago that you take every question seriously. So I said let’s talk about it,” Cook recalled. “We talked about it for 10 years, and finally he decided to donate his assets to the university.”

Warner Pacific, which has never used the property, sold it last October to Antoine Dean, a 29-year-old entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “real estate mogul”, for just over $1 million. Dean is a real estate and investment vlogger who owns properties in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland. He directed a 19-episode YouTube series titled Making a Mughal how he got rich investing in real estate.

Dean says he hasn’t decided what to do with the lot yet, but he’s in the process of dividing the commercially zoned lot into two. He plans to sell the parking lot and then either sell the building or renovate it into creative workspaces. He says he doesn’t have a schedule, but tends to change real estate quickly.

“It was just a good deal”, says Dean WW. “Parking alone was worth a good amount of money. So it was just something I could buy, split, sell a piece and keep a piece.

Ekansh Gupta contributed reporting for this story.

Alejandro L. Myatt