This post is the first in a series on the developments at the Burnside Bridgehead. See also Part II about Block 67.
Block 75 is one of a number of projects planned or under construction at the Burnside Bridgehead, a site which the Portland Development Commission has been trying to develop since 2005. A previous plan by developer Opus Northwest proposed a single large development on the multi-block site; the current plan has seen the PDC sell off the block individually, and let the developers choose what to build. For Block 75 partnership between Beam Development and Urban Development Partners was chosen. Beam are best known for their adaptive reuse office projects in the Central Eastside, while UDP have developed a number of apartment buildings along SE Division St. The architects for the project are Works Partnership, who have designed buildings for both developers. The landscape architects are Lango Hansen.
The 10-story project will be a truly mixed-use building, which will include 69 residential units, 8,330 sq ft of ground floor retail and 32,290 sq ft of office space. The office uses will be located on floors 2-4, and a mix of studio, one and two bedroom apartments are proposed on floors 5-10. Underground parking for 40 vehicles will be accessed from NE 3rd Ave. Long term bicycle parking will be provided in the basement and first floor. Overall, the project will include spaces for 130 bikes.
The facade is articulated as bundles of rectangular tubes facing east and west. The push and pull of the tubes creates a series of projecting windows, balconies and terraces, framed by white aluminum panels. The tubes pull back at the corner of NE MLK and Couch, in response to the curved property line. By contrast, the north and south facades will have a smooth curtain wall system, composed of glass and dark grey metal panels.
A mid-block connection / plaza will lead people down from NE MLK down to NE 3rd Ave, in alignment with the main entrance to the Eastside Exchange Building, which was recently renovated by Beam Development. The plaza will have retail spaces opening directly onto it, with outdoor seating provided. The plantings in the plaza will include honeylocust trees, ferns, dogwood and coast strawberry.
The site, seen below in 2014, is three quarters of a block. It has been vacant since the Ararat bakery and restaurant was demolished in 2008. The Union Arms apartment building, which was built in 1908, is not part of the project and will remain.
The project was approved through a Type III Design Review in August 2014. In the Final Findings And Decision By The Design Commission [PDF] Block 75 praised for its “distinct, bold design”:
The proposal employs design principles and durable building materials that impart the sense of quality and permanence envisioned for all projects comprising the Burnside Bridgehead development area, and the larger Central City Plan District. In concert with the recently approved Block 67 development and the recently renovated historic Eastside Exchange building, the proposed building will help to anchor the Bridgehead area. The building’s distinct, bold design concept of a “bundle of tubes” aids in this endeavor, especially at the intersection of NE MLK Boulevard and Couch Street. With the condition of approval that the rooftop mechanical screening be composed of solid, non-perforated metal material, the building’s design concept will remain strong and unified.
The through-block east-west pedestrian path/plaza, which connects with the MLK Boulevard sidewalk and the 3rd Avenue sidewalk, provides a safe, comfortable place where people can stop, socialize, rest, and enjoy the amenities contained therein. This linear outdoor space is an inextricable part of the overall proposal, as it contributes to the pedestrian-oriented vision of the Burnside Bridgehead area and allows the proposed building to be truly four-sided at the ground level.
An excavation and shoring permit was issued in September 2014, and construction began in December. Completion is scheduled for Summer of 2016.