IN PRE-EISENHOWER YEARS, Southwest Portland’s Goose Hollow hummed with activity as residents of the enclave’s 5,000 households hustled between bookstores, milliners and theaters. But as midcentury car culture emptied the urban core, bulldozers wiped out scores of Queen Anne-style homes to make way for Highway 26 and Interstate 405. By 1980, half of Goose Hollow’s residents had flown the coop. Now, though, with seemingly every inch of the central city under development, the area sandwiched between downtown and Northwest looks poised to take flight as Portland’s next hot neighborhood.

Consider, for example, that the luminary design firm Allied Works Architecture, which recently revamped the Seattle Art Museum, is leaving the Pearl to take roost this spring at SW 16th and Morrison, smack across from a freshly rehabbed Artists Repertory Theatre. Construction began just this winter on the building, which tile tycoon Ann Sacks will share. And 90 percent of the Civic condominiums, just two blocks away, have already been sold.

What has developers salivating are the neighborhood’s height limits—potentially about twice the Pearl District’s, which hover around 100 feet. Pearl development godfather Joe Weston is working on plans for a 325-foot-tall condo tower.

Some longtime nesters fear that the large buildings will threaten Goose Hollow’s pocket-sized feel, but they also admit the growth has re-energized the streetscape. “Our business has doubled in the last year,” says Coffeehouse NW owner Adam McGovern, who took over the café in 2005. Perhaps a sign that this forgotten burg is about to hatch a golden egg.