Design Advice has been offered to Ankrom Moisan Architects for a project at 1638 W Burnside St. The 8 story tall building for Atlanta-based developer Wood Partners will include 138 residential units, 83 below-grade parking spaces and 209 long term bicycle parking spaces. 5,791 sq ft of ground floor commercial space is planned, with retail spaces facing W Burnside at Level 1 and SW Alder St and Level 2.
The project would be located on the block bound by W Burnside, SW 16th Ave, SW Alder St and SW 17th in Goose Hollow. A 2 story 1926 building, with a single story 1964 addition, is currently located on the site. The existing building is currently occupied by Jaguar Portland, formerly known as Monte Shelton Motor Company. A 1909 apartment building on the same block is not part of the site and will remain.
The building would be arranged in a U-shape, with a south facing courtyard at level 3. A clubroom and terrace is planned at level 8. Projecting oriel windows are proposed on the W Burnside elevation at levels 3 to 7, to help the building mass better align with the existing building that will remain on the block.
Primary materials for the building include brick, black vinyl windows, black metal panels and black aluminum storefront.
At the November 10th advisory hearing much of the discussion focused on the extent to which the building will be required to step back from W Burnside. As outlined in a memo to the Design Commission, a condition of the development will require 7′ of the site to be given to the Bureau of Transportation, to allow for the existing 8′ sidewalk to be widened to 15′. A “Special Building Line” provision in the zoning code, unique to W Burnside St, requires that new buildings also be set back 10′ from the new property line, which would result in a 25′ wide sidewalk. The applicants requested that the 10′ requirement should be waived, with the sidewalk only widened to 15′ (the widest standard configuration in the Portland Pedestrian Design Guide).
While this 10′ setback standard has long been in the zoning code it has never been fully implemented. The Design Commission has previously approved some degree of modification to the standard for the Brewery Blocks, The Civic and the Stadium Fred Meyer rebuild. The architects further argued that the Special Building Line, which applies between 10th and 21st, will never be fully realized due to the presence of historic buildings and small triangular parcels that are unlikely to be redeveloped. The members of the Design Commission present agreed with the applicants’ arguments, stating that a 25′ wide sidewalk would be excessively large and do little to improve the urban character of W Burnside St. As mitigation for the potential modification the Commission signaled that they would be looking for a design that created very active ground floor, with no dead spaces facing the street.
A Type III Design Review is now pending for the project. The project will need to go in front of the Design Commission at a public hearing in order to gain approval.