A proposal to build a mixed-use retail and office building, designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, has gone in front of the Historic Landmarks Commission to receive design advice. The PAE Living building is being designed by ZGF Architects, with developer Gerding Edlen acting as the owner’s representative. PAE Engineers would be one of the occupants. The 5-story building would include nearly 5,000 sq ft of ground level retail space, with four floors of office above it. No vehicular parking is proposed.
The PAE Living building would be located at SW 1st and Pine, on a site slightly larger than a quarter block. The site, is one of the “Ankeny Blocks” that the Goodman family’s Downtown Development Group announced was available for redevelopment in 2016. The site is located directly east of the Pine Street Market and is currently used as surface parking. Another Ankeny Blocks project, 230 Ash, is now under construction one block to the west.
The primary exterior material for the building would be brick veneer, with inset fiberglass casement windows. Metal panel would be used at the window heads. The building would be framed with cross-laminated timber.
Sustainable features of the building, required in order to meet the Living Building Challenge, will include rainwater capture, rooftop solar panels, the use of locally sourced materials, and natural ventilation.
The PAE Living Building went in front of the Landmarks Commission on January 28th, for an advisory Design Advice Request meeting. Issues identified in a staff memo, published before the meeting, included: the extend to which the building will be required to step back from the historic lot lines on SW 1st Avenue, in order to widen the sidewalk; the massing, scale and form of the building; and the overall style of the building, which is intended to be a modern interpretation of the character of the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District.
The project was generally well received by the Landmarks Commission. Commissioner Chung noted how the building could set a positive precedent for other new construction projects on vacant lots:
From a precedent setting perspective, if you’re able to do this, I think it will do wonders from a historic preservation perspective to tout the benefits of this type of construction in historic districts, and what can be done. We need some positive examples of progressive architecture in historic districts.
In order to gain approval the project will be required to go through a Type III Historic Resource Review, with public hearings in front of the Landmarks Commission.