Under Construction in South Waterfront: Block 37 (images)

South Waterfront Block 37 is currently under construction. The 6-story building at 3700 SW River Parkway will include 270 apartments on the upper floors, walk-up units at the ground floor, and 8,359 sq ft of retail space. 225 vehicular parking spaces and 425 bicycle spaces will be provided. The building design is by GBD Architects for developer Mack Urban. Block 37 will be the first post-recession building in South Waterfront to face directly onto the Willamette.



Exterior materials at the ground level include black aluminum storefront windows, board formed concrete, dark gray brick and metal panel. At the upper levels materials include white stucco, dark gray brick, metal panels in three colors and black vinyl windows. The roof of Block 37 includes rocks in a colored pattern, designed to represent the north-south flow of the river.



Block 37 will face directly onto the Willamette. The South Waterfront Greenway will extend past the building, with parallel paths for pedestrians and cyclists from SW Gibbs to SW Lane. The park is scheduled to open in 2015, however landscaping in front of Block 37 has been postponed due the scheduled construction. The landscaping for the building will be integrated with the landscaping by Portland Parks & Recreation to ensure a seamless transition. A 1,500 sq ft retail space will be located at the corner of the Willamette Greenway and SW Gaines Street; this will be the first retail space in South Waterfront directly on the river.




 Existing Context

The site was previously vacant land, owned by Williams & Dame, South Waterfront’s original developer. Between 2009 and 2013 the land was used as a community garden. The land was sold to Mack Urban in 2013.

The project was approved by the Design Commission in August 2014, after a number of previous hearings. 30 written responses were received, expressing a mix of support and opposition to the project. In the Final Findings And Decision By The Design Commission [PDF] the Design Commission found that the building will make a positive contribution to South Waterfront:

As revised, the current proposal will be a great addition to South Waterfront District by adding activity and pedestrian scale to the abutting streets, accessway and future greenway trail. Significant revisions have been made since the last hearing on July 10th that improve the relationship and transition to the greenway, break down the mass on the north and south facades and increase the coherency of the overall design and building elements. Staff is recommending three Conditions of Approval for an additional column of balconies on the west elevation, vault lid cover that matches or is painted to match the color of the pavers, and an alternate design of the non-removable bollards in Lane which will further articulate and unify the façades and improve the pedestrian experience in the accessway, respectively. These revisions address the most recent concerns of the Design Commission and therefore warrant approval.

This approval was subsequently appealed to the City Council, based on opposition to a Modification that was granted, which will allow the building to project into the SW Lane accessway setback. The Design Commission’s decision was upheld by the City Council. Construction began in December 2014.

Plans, Elevations and Sections

5 thoughts on “Under Construction in South Waterfront: Block 37 (images)

  1. The renderings are attractive and the building will be a great addition to the So Waterfront neighborhood. Thank you GBD for keeping the exterior colors and surfaces neutral. With blue and orange on the Mirabella–that would otherwise be an exceptionally beautiful building–and the color schemes on the low-rise buildings to the south and along Moody–one begins to wonder what is happening out here to this would be beautiful neighborhood that got off to such a great start. That said–one complaint. I’m not wild about colored rocks on the roof. Why? I’m not looking forward to looking down on colored rocks from my perch in the Meriwether. I honestly cannot believe that this was approved amid all the other green roofs in the area. Can someone please explain this decision.

    • If you read the Final Findings and Decision by the Design Commission (linked near the end of the blog post) the design of the rooftop is discussed in section C11. While ecoroofs are common in South Waterfront, they are not a requirement.

  2. It would seem that south waterfront development has shifted from high rises to low rises. Was this in the plan all along? The conceptual drawings from the mid 2000s depicted the area as pretty tall. The demand for apartments seems like it would be high enough to support several more high rise buildings in the area, especially when you consider some of the buildings going up in the north pearl.

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