A 12-story building proposed adjacent to the Weatherly Building has gone in front of the Historic Landmarks Commission to receive Design Advice. The 160′ tall mixed use retail and office building is being designed by Perkins+Will for Unico Properties.
The Weatherly Building is 12-story tower at SE Grand and Morrison, built between 1927 and 1928. The building secondary contributing property in the East Portland Grand Avenue Historic District, and the only high-rise structure in the district. The Weatherly’s owners are also proposing a seismic retrofit of the building, which would be reviewed separately to the new construction.
The proposed new building would occupy the parking lot to the south of the Weatherly, part of which was occupied by the Oriental Theatre until its demolition in 1970. In Scheme A, shown in the drawings below, the existing two story building at the corner of SE Grand and Belmont would remain. In Scheme B, shown in the drawings and renderings, the two story building would be demolished. Scheme B would move ahead if the developer is able to acquire the existing building, currently home to Pour Sports Bar & Grill.
In Scheme A the new building would include 143,865 sq ft of office and retail space, and three levels of below grade parking, with 78 vehicular parking spaces. In Scheme B the new building would include 201,900 sq ft of office and retail space, and three levels of below grade parking, with 150 vehicular parking spaces.
Both schemes would have ground floor retail space fronting onto SE Grand, Belmont and 6th. In Scheme A the office lobby would be placed on SE Belmont; in Scheme B it would be placed on SE Grand.
The new construction would mid separated from the Weatherly by a mid-block “woonerf“, which would provide loading access for the two buildings. Parking for the new construction would be accessed from SE 6th Ave.
The new building would be framed with cross-laminated timber (CLT) and have a highly glazed facade.
The project at the Weatherly site went in front of the Historic Landmarks Commission for Design Advice on February 11th, 2019. “Macro level” issues identified in a staff memo, published before the meeting, included: the building’s siting and orientation; the height, scale, form and proportion of the new structure; the architectural character of the proposal, including the glass facade; and the parking and loading location and access.
Much of the discussion at the meeting focused on the building’s character and massing. Commissioner Roman noted that the building’s facade expression needed to better relate to the historic contributing buildings in the district. Commissioner Smith offered that the building’s impact on the Weatherly needed to be considered more carefully:
If it’s this tall, it can’t be this tall all the way out to Grand, because I think that really does kind of obliterate the presence of the Weatherly Building that you get from anywhere within the district.
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 Design Commission.