SERA Architects have scheduled a Pre-Application Conference to discuss a potential addition to the New Market Theater building in the Skidmore / Old Town Historic District. The new four story structure would be primarily used as creative office space, with possible retail space at the ground floor.
The New Market Theater at 50 SW 2nd Ave was built in 1872. The cast iron building once included a public market, commercial offices and a “lavish 800 seat theater”. Though the interior has been significantly altered over the years, the exterior remains largely intact. Almost as soon as the New Market Theater was completed, construction began on the North Wing which was finished in 1873. The North Wing was demolished in 1956, and all that remains of it today are the cast iron arches that face onto SW 1st Ave. Today the New Market Theater is a Portland Historic Landmark, and a contributing structure in the Skidmore / Old Town Historic District.
Multiple facade treatments for the building were submitted to the City for discussion. All incorporate the arches from the 1873 North Wing. Option A (above) shows the fourth story facade flush with the lower floors. Option B (below) recesses the fourth story, in a move that suggests the massing that existed on the New Market block from the late 19th Century to the mid 20th Century.
The Pre-Application Conference [PDF] is scheduled for November 19th 2015 at 8:30 AM. The project will be required to go through a Type III Historic Resource Review, with public hearings before the Historic Landmarks Commission.
I will leave the justified critique of Disneyland mimicry architecture to the many opponents of Landmarks. Perhaps more important is the loss of what could be a great public space. Portland lacks a truly grand scale civic space and so we rely on a patchwork of smaller more intimate spaces. It would be a shame to lose the few we have. Ankeny has the potential to be a great connective pathway space given Burnside is challenged [a potential lessened by the unfortunate closure of Ankeny by Big Pink–imagine an activated Ankeny Alley connecting a new civic space at Broadway and Burnside all the way down to Waterfront Park]
In terms of the proposed architecture the irony is this proposed “conforming” design choice actually obscures the historic structure. A modern more transparent glass neighbor would in fact bring more attention to the New Market Theater building and celebrate it with contrast– a concept Landmarks might want to consider lest we devolve a neighborhood of rich texture into one of parody.
I work for Skidmore market, which is an outdoor market located directly behind column in lot where planed building would be. me and my coworkers and fellow vendors are locals. I myself am 3rd generation portlander. Skidmore Saturday market is good for the working poor community it’s good for the homeless community it’s good for the middle class community , it’s good for the so called upper class. This plan would be a dagger through our hearts. Not to mention vendors often pay homeless workers to put up and pull down there booths. We r a pdx institution don’t let these Californian investors slice into us more then they already have (by the way the owners are from San fransico area and acquired this building less than two years ago and they’re already trying to make changes detrimental to this community