Bora Architects and Hoyt Street Properties have gone before the Design Commission with proposals for a 21 story tower. The 246′ tall Block 20 tower will include 149 residential units, offered for sale as condominium units. Two small retail spaces are proposed at the corner of NW 12th Ave and Pettygrove Street. 192 car parking spaces and 224 bike parking spaces will be provided.
Block 20 is the first condominium tower to go in front of the Design Commission for almost a full three years. The most recent major condominium project in Portland prior to Block 20 was the Cosmopolitan on the Park, by the same developer and architect. The Cosmopolitan was approved by the Design Commission in July 2013, and is now nearing completion.
The project site is a full block site in the North Pearl, on the site of the former Hoyt Street Railway yards. The site bound by NW 11th Ave, Pettygrove St, 12th Ave and Quimby St, and is directly to the west of The Fields Park. One block to the south of the proposed building is the recently completed Block 17 Apartments.
The building is arranged as a full block podium structure, of four to five stories in height. The podium contains the above grade structured parking for the building, which is buried in the interior of the block and is entirely wrapped by residential uses. The tower occupies the northeast corner of the block, and rises from the sixth level to the twenty first level. At 246′ tall, the tower exceeds the 225′ maximum height established for the western half of the block. This is allowed through a provision in the zoning code, unique to the Pearl north of Lovejoy, that allows towers of unlimited height when the floorplates above 100’ are 12,500 sq ft or less in area.
The primary materials for the building are Equitone glass fiber reinforced concrete panels at the north and south elevations, and stucco at recessed balconies on the east and west elevations. Other materials proposed glass guardrails, curtain wall glazing, aluminum storefront, aluminum windows, as well as custom perforated metal garage doors and façade panels.
At the fifth floor the building will include a landscaped roof terrace, for the use of building residents. A planted ecoroof will be created at the sixth floor, over the podium structure.
A Staff Report and Recommendation to the Design Commission [PDF], published before the June 2nd hearing, did not yet recommend approval for the project. Although largely positive about the project, the report identified three of the ground level frontages as “struggling”. This sentiment was shared by the Design Commission, who had particular concerns about the ground level residential units facing the Fields Park. Though the applicants argued they have found the ground floor units at the adjacent Block 17 to be successful, members of the Design Commission said that they had noticed that the blinds are often drawn during the day, creating an inactive streetscape. Suggestions given by the Commission included replacing the residential units with “live/work” units, or adding micro retail spaces similar to those at the Central Eastside Lofts at NE 6th & Davis.
The project is currently scheduled to return for a second Design Review hearing on June 30th.