Design Advice offered for NW 21st and Irving Apartments (images)

Design Advice has been offered by the Historic Landmarks Commission to Emerick Architects for a proposed mixed use building at 635 NW 21st Avenue. The 4 story building by Urban Development Partners will include approximately 57 residential units, with a mix of studios, one and two bedroom apartments. 62 car parking spaces would be located in a below grade garage, and 65 bicycle parking spaces would be located in two secure bike rooms. A 10,600 sq ft retail space is proposed at the ground level, which could potentially be divided for multiple tenants.


The new building will replace the single story Gypsy Restaurant and Velvet lounge, which closed in February 2014.



The proposed building is composed of three distinct masses, which step back 15′ at the corner of  NW 21st and Irving to preserve a heritage elm tree. Exterior common spaces for the use of the residents are proposed at each of the three residential floors.



Due to the building’s location in the Alphabet Historic District a Type III Historic Resource Review with public hearings before the Historic Landmarks Commission will be required.

Plans and Elevations

4 thoughts on “Design Advice offered for NW 21st and Irving Apartments (images)

  1. Why does the Historic Landmarks Commission have input on new construction? That’s how you end up with faux historic buildings like this. They create a fuzzy line between what is actually historic and what is new construction, which actually devalues the truly historic buildings in the neighborhood. We should be focused on making well crafted, well designed, buildings that speak to the time and place in which they are built — the types of buildings that future generations will fight to save 100 years from now. This current design represents none of that. It’s just an attempt to not “offend” anyone by making it look kinda sorta old-timey.

      • During the hearing he will have to recuse himself from discussion and voting. It’s a situation that comes up more frequently on the Design Commission, where practicing architects have to present their work to the body that they are also a member of. Given that both commissions are volunteer bodies, it would probably be impossible to find qualified architects to fill the seats if they were also prohibited from ever working in areas of the city that have Design / Historic Resource Review.

  2. Agreed, Richard. I live next door in a truly historic building (1910) and as an architect, I would encourage the designers to push back on Landmarks to create something of OUR time. Please don’t de-value our diverse neighborhood with watered-down, classically detailed impostors.

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