Every week, the Bureau of Development Services publishes lists of Early Assistance applications, Land Use Reviews and Building Permits processed in the previous week. We publish the highlights.
Ankrom Moisan Architects have requested Early Assistance for a project at 25 NE 122nd Ave:
Proposal is for a mixed use project including a commercial clinic and 176 residential apartments. The apartments will consist of a mix of transitional housing studios and single room occupancy units and will provide housing opportunities for medically fragile clients. Parking will be below grade for approx. 75 spaces. Ground floor and level two to contain the clinic program.
Doug Circosta Architect has requested Early Assistance for a project at 6847 N Interstate Ave:
Proposal is for a new four story 51 unit apartment building with on site parking and related site amenities.
Ankrom Moisan Architects have scheduled a Pre-Application Conference to discuss a project at 1638 W Burnside St:
Demo existing 2 story auto dealership to develop a 7-8 story mixed use apartment building with commercial on the first floor. With 94 below grade parking spaces.
NW Civil Design have requested a Public Works Inquiry for a project at 7337 SE Foster Rd:
New dental building with parking.
Carleton Hart Architecture have submitted the Grant Warehouse Redevelopment at 3368 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd for Type II Design Review:
Proposal is for new five story 87,900 sf mixed-use development with 80 affordable apartments and 6,000 sf of neighborhood oriented commercial use. Modification proposed for site development standard 33.266.220.C.3.B for bicycle parking.
Leeb Architects have submitted a project at 909 SE 12th Ave for Type III Design Review:
Request for approval of a Type III design review to allow construction of a development of a seven story mixed use building with three modificatons to review. Section 33.266.130F parking layout; section 33.266.220.C3 size of bicycle rack; section 33.266.310.D loading space vertical clearance.
re: 1638 W. Burnside– good to see development on Burnside but yet again we are knocking down a decent building–one of the few good buildings in that stretch of Burnside in fact–and leaving the Enterprise rental car lot, the McDonalds car lot, the Sammy’s Flowers car lot, the car wash car lot, the fast food car lot… This isn’t the parcel that needs to be developed! So frustrating to see yet again viable solid buildings come down and asphalt lots remain. I understand economics and private properties rights. but it doesn’t make it any easier to witness. If we’re serious about our green/environmental commitment Portland needs to put in place more incentives to get asphalt developed and more disincentives to tear buildings down. The subject building has great bones and could easily add a few stories for a viable creative office space project (there just happens to be more money in residential in the current market). Look at those great second story windows! We don’t build like that anymore. Let the new buildings come up on the surface lots and let’s try to keep some diversity of building stock. This is the perfect candidate for the third way: not demo, not brand new…but renovation/addition–the blending of the old and new. We are not seeing enough of that lately.
I hear what you’re saying about developing parking lots, but you can only lead a horse to water…
Here’s a more constructive response:
I love your approach to focus on asphalt lots and wish there was a way to do it, but I don’t know how a public entity can legally give one property an extra incentive to develop that no one adjacent to that site gets. I guess historic landmarks are an exception, but it’s quite a process to get on that list (and unfortunately way too easy to take your name off).
Even in the current economy development is still a risky business, and parking lots bring in a steady stream of income with very little maintenance or effort. Without generalizing too much, I’m guessing a lot of parking lot owners are sitting on their property out of comfort with their current setup or fear of taking on more risk, and might need the city to play a more proactive role in pushing them to redevelop.
Keep in mind most property owners do not have knowledge of the development industry or process, and those that do are probably already studying redevelopment projects on their sites.
Maybe the city could offer a development assistance program to help parking lot property owners with the redevelopment process to get them comfortable with the idea and the process?
Here’s one way: make demo difficult and expensive. Two things would happen: 1) we would see more upgrading and additions to existing resources and 2) the value of empty or underutilized parcels would go up making it less likely for owners to keep them empty or undeveloped. In addition we would likely see more interesting architecture given more existing structures would need to be incorporated into new designs. Moreover there are some interesting concepts that have been suggested regarding taxation–one being we could tax the development potential of land instead of what we do now which is to increase taxes when the land is developed. The City has much more leverage than we use. For a city that prides itself on progressive ideas of planning and politics it is the wild west when it comes to demolition and historic resources here. But I’m not waving the historic flag here–I’m just talking about good urban design where we have a more uniform built environment. Another positive result of keeping more structures intact: cheaper rents. Existing buildings are on average cheaper than new construction. Most Portlanders are not aware it is our previously weak economy-not progressive policy–that have kept a lot of what we like about Portland intact–for now. The idea we cannot have more rigorous policy due to property rights is absurd. LUBA just declared the city cannot move R2D2 to a industrial zone. If that isn’t telling a property owner what can be done then what is it? The legal concept of the public interest above the private is settled law: it’s called the zoning code. Enough about rights..what about responsibilities for property owners? When you buy a structure it should be assumed you intend to keep and maintain it and not simply let it rot until you get a deal. Our policies should encourage this behavior not incentivize neglect.