The Design Commission has offered Design Advice for two new office buildings proposed for the Zidell Yards in South Waterfront. Zidell Blocks 4 and 6 are being designed by Lever Architecture, in collaboration with GBD Architects and landscape architects Place Studio. The buildings will be among the first to go ahead under a development agreement between the Zidell family and the City of Portland, which could see the public invest $23.8 million towards parks, roads and other improvements. Together with Zidell Block 1, expected to go before the Design Commission in the coming year, the buildings will by 2018 fulfill Phase I of the development agreement.
Block 4 is planned for a parcel directly opposite to the Emery, Zidell’s first development project. The site will be bound by SW Moody, which already exists, and the future SW Bond, Grover and Ross Island Bridge Parkway South. Block 4 will include a 19,000 sq ft retail space at the ground floor, which is being designed to meets the needs of a grocery store tenant. The 5 floors above will provide 108,140 sq ft of office space. Parking for 159 vehicles and 137 bikes will be provided.
At the ground level Block 4 will mirror the Emery across street, with a shallow plaza created in front of the grocery entrance. At the upper level office floors the building form will become a parallelogram in plan. The primary structure for the building will be a concrete frame, exposed at the lower levels. At the top floor the roof will be framed with exposed heavy timber beams. The primary exterior cladding material will be metal panel, similar to the systems used on the Arthouse and Treehouse apartments, both by Lever Architecture.
Block 6 is planned for a parcel immediately south of the approach to the Tilikum Crossing, where it intersects with SW Moody. On its other two sides the building will be bound by the future SW Bond Ave and Woods St. The building will include 5 ground level retail spaces, of 15,000 sq ft total area. The 4 floors above will include 193,165 sq ft of office space. Parking for 189 vehicles is proposed in a below grade garage, while bicycle parking will be provided at the ground level.
Block 6 has been designed to have large open office floor plates, which are scarce in Portland. To get light into the building it has been divided in plan, with entry plazas facing SW Moody and Bond. The edge of the building will be held back from the edge of SW Moody, due to a utility easement along the edge of the street. Block 6 will have an exposed steel structure at the interior, a reference to the history of recycling scrap steel and making barges on the site. The primary material for the exterior skin will be a folded ACM metal panel.
A memo to the Design Commission outlined potential areas of discussion for the September 24th hearing, many of which related to potential modifications to the Zoning Code that are likely to be requested. The Design Commission expressed strong support for both buildings, and gave tentative approval for the modifications needed. Block 6 in particular drew a lot of praise, including from Commissioner Livingston, who told the applicant that the “form is incredibly strong, and I know that whatever you do going forward you won’t compromise it.” The Commission supported the recessed entries with public plazas, though noted it creates a long walk in the rain and encouraged the architects to continue to look at ways to meet the “protect the pedestrian” Design Guideline. Block 4 was similarly well received, though some concern was expressed about placing exit stairs at the corners of the plan, where they may negatively affect the ground level activation. Other areas of discussion included the blank facades facing SW Grover, and whether the relationship of the raised dock / sidewalk to the angled parking on the north side of the building was successful.
To gain approval the buildings will need to go through a full Type III Design Review, with public hearings before the Design Commission.