Design Advice has been offered to TVA Architects for a mixed use building at NW 13th Ave & Johnson St. The 6 story building for developer Paul Properties is proposed to include 59 apartments units over 3,492 sq ft of retail. Long term parking for 91 bicycles is proposed. No vehicular parking is proposed.
The site at 1319 NW Johnson is currently occupied by a single story warehouse, built in 1942 and currently used by Nossa Familia Coffee. The roughly 1/8 of block site is directly adjacent to the recently renovated Stagecraft Building, and across the street from the under construction Block 136 office, residential and retail development. The site is just outside the boundaries of the NW 13th Ave Historic District, which terminates at NW Johnson St.
At the November 3rd Design Advice Request hearing, the applicants presented three options for the skin of the buildings. All three options have the same massing and program.
Option A uses zinc metal panel as the primary material for the building, with fiber cement panel and a stamped wood grain composite metal panel as accent materials. Board formed concrete and wood storefronts are proposed at the ground floor.
In keeping with the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s River District Right of Way Standards, the building would have a raised dock along NW 13th Ave instead of a traditional sidewalk.
In Option B, the primary material for the building would be a red brick.
In Option C, the primary material for the building would be a white brick.
A staff memo to the Design Commission, published before the advisory hearing, outlined potential areas for discussion, including: the massing, scale and design character of the building; the ground floor program and entries; and the materials proposed. A major area of discussion was the massing of the building, and in particular the elements that project over the right-of-way. The Design Commission was in support of the projections over NW Johnson, but not over NW 13th Ave, which—as noted by a member of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association—is the only street in the city where it is typical for buildings to viewed by pedestrians from the center of the street. Newly appointed member of the Commission Sam Rodriguez suggested reducing the massing on NW 13th and increasing the height, by constructing the building with five levels of wood over two levels of concrete (which the Bureau of Development Services Life Safety division has recently started to allow). Commissioner Livingston suggested that if Option A was to move forward the number of materials should be reduced, while Commissioner Vallaster indicated his preference for Option B, though suggested simplification of the massing.
The project is currently scheduled to return in front of the Design Commission for a second Design Advice Request hearing on December 8th. In order to gain approval, the project will be required to go through a Type III Design Review, with public hearings before the Design Commission.
Full disclosure: the author of Next Portland is employed by TVA Architects, however has not been involved with this project.