Design Advice has been offered for a proposed U-Store self storage facility at the north end of the Pearl. The five story building is being designed by MCA Architects for Hoyt Street Properties. At the ground floor the building will include 6 retail / office units, accessed from a raised dock. The four floors above would include over 70,000 sq ft of storage space. As part of the development a new plaza is proposed where NW 13th Ave and Savier St will meet.
The project site is vacant land, at the far end of the former railyard acquired by Hoyt Street Properties in the 1990s. Nearby developments planned or under construction include NW 14th & Raleigh, 1411 NW Quimby, Modera Pearl and the Vista Pearl. Construction was recently completed on the Abigail.
The primary material for the building will be a ribbed metal panel, in two colors.
The project went before the Design Commission on May 11th. A Staff Memo to the Commission outlined potential areas for discussion, including: the urban design/pedestrian environment/ground floor; massing; and the facade articulation. While the ground floor programming and landscaping proposed drew praise, the Commission had reservation about the exterior expression of the building. During the hearing Commissioner Rodriguez offered his thoughts:
I think a box can be a sculpture too. It isn’t right now, but the blankness [of the walls] is what it is; it’s storage. It could be really honest about being what it is. I think it just needs some work. The transparent lower level is actually going to add a lot of interest to what otherwise could be a very blank corner. I do think there needs to be a sculptural quality to the skin. I don’t know what is the material; it could be anything. I was just thinking about a project I saw in Madrid, CaixaForum. Basically they took a warehouse, blanked out the walls, and put a COR-TEN box on top of it, very sculptural… it’s a blank box, but it’s a fantastic blank box. I’m not saying COR-TEN because it will rust and bleed all over the place, but that said I think there’s an opportunity here to actually be very frank about what it is. It is in what was an industrial neighborhood.
In order to gain approval the U-Store will be required to go through a Type III Design Review with public hearings in front of the Design Commission.