Derby NW reviewed by Design Commission (images)

Kōz Development has gone in front of the Design Commission with proposals for Derby NW, a new seven story mixed use building. The building will contain 128 residential units, 20% of which will be affordable to those earning less than 60% of area median family income. At the ground floor the building will include a retail space at the corner of NW 16th & Marshall, as well as the lobby/amenity area and 12 of the residential units. Long term bicycle parking for at least 150 bicycles will be provided. No vehicular parking is proposed.

Derby NW

The building will be constructed on a site that was formerly home to Slabtown bar, seen above in April 2016. The bar closed in November 2014, and was demolished in early 2016.

Derby NW

The building will be arranged in a “C” shape, with a courtyard facing the interior of the block. Exterior materials proposed include brick, cast-in-place concrete, various colors of Equitone panels, aluminum storefront glazing and vinyl windows.

Derby NW

Derby NW

Derby NW

Derby NW

Derby NW

Staff Report and Recommendation to the Design Commission [PDF], published before the October 6th hearing, did not yet recommend approval for the project. Concerns raised by Bureau of Development Services Staff (summarized in a memo [PDF]) included: the architectural coherency and contextual response to the Northwest Plan District, including the perceived “applied, graphic patterning”; the need for the project to meet Bureau of Environmental Services and Bureau of Transportation requirements; and the material quality and detailing.

Derby NW is currently scheduled to return in front of the Design Commission for a second hearing on December 1st.


7 thoughts on “Derby NW reviewed by Design Commission (images)

  1. I know the design commission doesn’t comment on unit design, but these units really do look miserable. 550 sf is absurdly small for a 2 bedroom. Also most of the studios don’t even have a closet. The only way this project makes sense is as a cynical bet that housing supply will never catch up with demand in the foreseeable future, because as soon as the market softens they’re going to have a hard time keeping it full.

    • Agreed! 500 sf is barely enough for a one bedroom. I do wish they’d stop building so many luxury shoe boxes. Apartments of this size are needed but so are much larger ones. Couples and small families need to also have a place at the table, and apartments from 800 – 1500 square feet have to be part of that mix in much larger numbers. That’s the best way to retain a mix of people. Unless you’re single you probably don’t want to be stuck in a small flat forever.

      Also, what is with modern buildings and their general refusal to use any actual colors? I’m tired of white and grey and beige. Why can’t they use actual red brick? It’s much nicer looking, has a more organic feel, and in the depths of winter especially, it adds color that keeps the place from being drab. This place looks as cheery as Lenin’s tomb.

      • I think it’s an unfortunate result of the current economics of building. With very few exceptions, the only places where multifamily housing can be legally built is with large lots on main streets. Because of high property values, the incentive is to build big – which requires expensive building materials like reenforced concrete and renting a crane – and to subdivide as small as possible, which means tiny units with high rents.

        Small 2-4 story wood-framed apartments are by far cheaper and faster to build, and we do have a lot of them in this city from prior eras, but even on streets where they already exist, it wouldn’t be legal to build them now due to zoning and parking restrictions.

        • Building something that has a limited appeal makes no sense. Just because right now there is a trend for rich people to live in tiny high end apartments doesn’t mean it will continue, then what? Portland is left with thousands and thousands of tiny apartments that the future market will reject? As a Portlander and not an out of state developer or investment group I care about the city and not just how much money can be made next week.

  2. Bring on the next financial crisis already, something has to stop garbage like this from being built. How do these architects graduate from school if this is what they consider good design? Portland is quickly becoming a fucking joke.

    • Go to any medium to large city in the country – or even to a lot of suburbs – and this is how the overwhelming majority of new multifamily buildings look. It’s not unique to Portland. It will be considered the architecture characteristic of this era, kind of like brutalism was during the 60s and 70s.

    • Portland is soon becoming a cookie cutter generic city with no soul. Unfortunately these new buildings popping up all over town are more the places people are abandoning and less the kind of places they want to move to….

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