GBD Architects and PLACE landscape architects have gone in front of the Design Commission to present a 35-story mixed use building proposed for downtown Portland. The Block 216 tower would include retail, office, hotel, and residential condominium uses, with a 310 stall underground parking garage. The project is being developed by BPM Real Estate Group.
The project site is the full block bound by SW 10th, Washington, 9th and Alder. The block, owned by the Goodman family controlled Downtown Development Group, is mostly used for surface parking. It is however better known for the food carts that line the perimeter of the block. News that the site could be redeveloped broke in April 2018.
The 455’-7” tall tower would be located on the western half of the block, and oriented on a north-south axis, in order to minimize the amount of shadow cast on O’Bryant Square. The nearby park has been closed since March, due to structural issues with the parking garage located beneath the park. Portland Parks & Recreation currently has funding to study redevelopment options for the park, and hopes to have it open again by 2023.
At the ground level Block 216 would include approximately 10,400 sq ft of retail space; separate residential, hotel and office lobbies; a hotel lounge; and parking and loading entries. The entire frontage facing SW 9th Ave would be taken up by a food hall, intended to replicate the energy that the food carts currently bring to the site. An event level at the second floor would include an 8,400 sq ft ballroom, meeting rooms, and a small junior ballroom.
The rest of the podium, occupying floors three through eight, would be filled by roughly 160,000 sq ft of office space. The podium would be clad in a honed white precast concrete panels, reminiscent of the nearby Union Bank tower. Each office floor would open onto a series of landscaped roof terraces, which cascade down towards O’Bryant Square.
Levels 9 to 18 in the tower would include 240 hotel guest rooms. Levels 19 and 20 would be dedicated to hotel amenities, including a spa, pool, club lounge, fitness center, and a restaurant open to the general public. Although the brand of the hotel has yet to be released, the developer has signed a letter of intent with a hotel operator.
The top 15 floors of the building would include 138 residential condominium units. The developer intends to meet the city’s inclusionary housing regulations by paying a fee-in-lieu, at a cost that was reported earlier this year to be $7.5 million.
Access to the underground parking garage would be from SW Washington St. A “luxury drop off” valet area is proposed adjacent to the hotel lobby.
The project team went in front of the Design Commission to receive Design Advice on August 16, 2018. Issues discussed, and summarized in a memo written by city staff, included how the podium of the building relates to its immediate historic context; the overall coherency of the building, including the number of moves made in the design; and the ground floor design, including the food hall and the vehicular drop off.
Along SW 9th Ave the building will touch the future Green Loop alignment. A new standard, added to the zoning code for the Central City in May, requires that buildings fronting the Park Blocks set back at least 12 feet from the property line. The applicants are requesting a modification to the zoning code, to allow this setback to be reduced. In order to better meet the Design Guidelines, as required when modifications are requested, they are proposing to build out the first block of the Green Loop, adjacent to their proposed food hall.
At a follow up Design Advice Request hearing on August 23rd four options were shown for how the street could be redesigned. All options involve a curbless building face to building face design, similar to Director Park. The base option would include trees on the west side of the street only, due to the existing basements under the sidewalk at The Woodlark and Stevens Building to the east. Refinement options showed trees and flexible seating in the location normally used for on-street parking. Whether cars would still be allowed to drive on this section of the Green Loop is a decision that the Bureau of Transportation has yet to make.
Block 216 is set to go in front of the Design Commission for a further Design Advice hearing tomorrow, September 13th. The project has a pending Type III Design Review application.