The Design Commission has approved 5 MLK, the 17 story Burnside Bridgehead tower. The design of the project is by Chicago based GREC Architects, for Portland based developer Gerding Edlen. The 200′ tall building will include approximately 112,000 sq ft of office space, 220 residential apartments and 14,000 sq ft of retail space. Parking for 158 vehicles and 344 bicycles will be provided.
The building will be located at the site that was until recently home to Fishels Furniture. According to a 1988 survey [PDF] the existing quarter block building at 5 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd was built circa 1900, to designs by an unknown architect. The building is described as “typical of others of its type which consist of a first floor retail space with offices above”. Other buildings on the same block, also used by Fishels Furniture, are listed on portlandmaps.com as constructed in 1920, 1941 and 1953. Fishels Furniture was founded in 1921, and announced in April 2016 that they would be closing following a liquidation sale.
The surrounding area at the east end of the Burnside Bridge is growing rapidly. 5 MLK will be just to south of the recently completed Yard and Slate buildings, and the under construction Fair Haired Dumbbell and Aura Burnside. Other buildings planned or under construction in the lower E Burnside area include the Towne Storage Building, the Jupiter Hotel Expansion, the Ankeny Apartments and the Burnside Delta.
The massing and facade articulation of the project is based on the “Layers A” scheme presented at the third Design Advice Request hearing, held in October 2016. The building will be comprised of a five story retail and office podium, with a pinwheel form residential tower located on floors 7 through 17 above.
The main entrance to the building, shared by the office and residential uses, will be at the corner of E Burnside and SE MLK. A series of large rooftop terraces, with with landscape designed by PLACE, are proposed at levels 3 through 6. Amenity features including a fitness center, yoga studio and lounge will open onto the level 6 terrace. A roof deck with a pool is proposed at level 17.
The skin for the tower will be a window wall system, with a pattern of vision glass, spandrel glass, porcelain panels in two colors, and projecting mullions. Other materials proposed include metal soffits and stone masonry at the ground level planters.
5 MLK went before the Design Commission five times in total: for Design Advice Requests, held in July, September, and October 2016; for an initial Design Review hearings in March 2017; and for a final Design Review hearing on May 18th 2017. Revisions made to project between the first and second Design Review hearings included: the provision of additional loading spaces accessed from SE 3rd Ave; revisions to the massing at the curve on the SE corner; and to the patterning on the facade. In the conclusion to the Final Findings and Decision by the Design Commission the project was found to provide an “activated and transparent ground floor” that will improve the ground level around the building:
The proposed 17-story, 370,863 square-foot mixed-use building in the Central Eastside Subdistrict of the Central City Plan District will be a well-composed addition to the burgeoning development area around the E Burnside bridgehead, clad with high-quality materials and providing an activated and transparent ground floor to improve the pedestrian realm along E Burnside Street, SE MLK Boulevard, SE Ankeny Street, and SE 3rd Avenue.
Building permits are currently under review for the project.