The Design Commission has approved the George Besaw Apartments, a four story mixed use development at NW 23rd and Savier by GBD Architects, for developer CE John. The 51 unit building will be located at the original location of Besaw’s restaurant, and will include 6,000 sq ft of ground floor retail facing NW 23rd Ave. 24 vehicular parking spaces will be provided, mostly in a mechanical parking system. 59 long-term and 5 short-term bicycle parking spaces will be provided.
The site at NW 23rd & Savier was formerly occupied by a collection of structures, dating back to the 19th century. The residential buildings surrounding the former Besaw’s building were demolished earlier this year. According to an August 2011 article [PDF] in the NW Examiner—when redevelopment of the site was already being contemplated—the building at 2301 NW Savier was built in 1891 as the J.R. Stipe Grocery store. The store closed in 1903, and the building became Liberty-Besaw’s. The restaurant remained in the Besaw family until 1979, when it was closed by Clyde Besaw, who had operated it for 40 years. The restaurant reopened in 1987 under new ownership. Besaw’s restaurant continued in operation on the site until May of last year, and has now relocated to the LL Hawkins building.
Earlier iterations of the design incorporated the former Besaw’s building into the development. The Staff Report and Recommendation to the Design Commission notes that this was still the intention when the Design Review application was first filed:
The project team fully explored preserving the building and incorporating it into the new development, and in fact, the initial Design Review Application for this project had it still in place. However, after closer examination on-site, it was determined by the applicant that the condition of the structure, the failing foundations, and the shear amount of work that would be needed to make the building code compliant would not be financially feasible nor would it result in marketable retail space. With this in mind, the applicant decided to propose its removal.
The primary material for the building will be brick, in three colors (dark grey, blended red and blended beige). Secondary materials include metal panels, custom metal louvers, aluminum storefront systems, painted concrete bulkheads, steel canopies and fiberglass windows. Fiber cement lap siding was originally proposed at the north and west elevations, however a condition of approval added by the Design Commission will instead result in stucco being used at those locations. Similarly painted CMU shown proposed at ground level of the north elevation will instead be brick.
The George Besaw Apartments were approved by the Design Commission on June 16th, when the Commission voted 5-1 to approve the uphold the Staff Report. Building permits will need to be obtained before construction can begin on site.