The Modera Glisan by SERA Architects has gone in front of the Design Commission for an initial Design Review hearing. The 12 story, 145’ tall building for Mill Creek Residential Trust will include 291 residential units at the upper floors, which ground floor retail and office space facing NW 14th Ave and Hoyt St. Below grade parking for 206 vehicles is proposed. Long term parking for 477 bicycles will be provided.
The site for the project is approximately three quarters of the block bound by NW Glisan St, 14th Ave, Hoyt St and 15th. The development would require the demolition of two buildings most recently occupied by Premier Press, who have since moved their operations to Swan Island. A project to convert and expand those two buildings into new office space was approved by the Design Commission in October, but was never submitted for building permit review. Other buildings on the site that would be removed include the 1939 service station, now occupied by Hawaiian Time, and a single story retail building most recently occupied by restaurant Le Bouchon.
The historic Fire Station #3, which at one time was proposed to be demolished, will remain on the site. The building will undergo a renovation that will include seismic upgrades.
A separate project, connected to the 1430 NW Glisan St development across the street, will develop a surface parking area on the block into a parklet, in order to allow an FAR transfer. Lango Hansen are the landscape architects for the parklet and for the Modera Glisan. While the parklet will remain in separate ownership common design elements will be used on both sites in order to create a cohesive development.
The building is arranged as a L-shape, which wraps around the Fire Station property. Along NW Hoyt St the building massing will rise to its maximum height, while it will drop to ten stories tall along NW 14th Ave in deference to the nearby 13th Avenue Historic District. An exterior terrace area, including a pool, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and hammocks will be located on top of the 10 story volume. A common room with an adjacent terrace will be located at the 12th floor.
Primary materials for the building are proposed as granite colored brick, metal panel in two colors, aluminum storefront, VPI vinyl windows and glass balcony railings.
A 30′ wide courtyard between the new and existing buildings will be developed, creating the opportunity for an outdoor seating area for future restaurant tenants.
A Staff Report and Recommendation to the Design Commission [PDF], published before the January 5th hearing, did not yet recommend approval for the project. Issues cited in the report as remaining to be resolved included: the coherency of the west-facing stair tower expression; the inactivity of the SE corner at level 10, which masks a mechanical area for the swimming pool; and how the electrical transformers affect the ground floor activation. The project was generally well received by the Commission, with particular praise given to the developer for saving the Fire Station building. A further issue brought up by the Commission at the hearing was whether the choice of color for the brick was correct, considering both how it relates to the Fire Station, as well as nearby buildings proposed and existing
The Modera Glisan is currently scheduled to return in front of the Commission for a second hearing on February 9th.
Yes it is good the Firehouse was saved. However…one of the most important reasons to keep our older building stock is rarely discussed in the preservation debate. Older smaller buildings allow uses that cannot afford the cost of new construction rents. Uses like Jimmy Mak’s jazz club and Touche’ pool hall have or will be gone soon. One by one the Pearl (and Portland at large) is losing these little gems that don’t follow the new generic formula for retail. Preserving our older and smaller buildings is not simply about keeping nice old buildings. It’s at the heart of our politics and our community because what the building is has a direct connection to WHO and WHAT can happen within them. And who and what happens within our buildings has a bigger role in defining our city that how our buildings look. Yes Mill Creek is not tearing down the Firehouse but they are remodeling it and re-programming it so that it will act like new construction at new construction rents. Yes we need increased density and the new construction it requires, however losing our soul is too high a price to pay. We need 3 things to help this matter: 1) local property owners who refuse to sell their smaller buildings with local tenants, 2) developers who are willing and who recognize incorporating older smaller buildings with uses that augment our culture will ultimately benefit not only the community but the intangible value of their project, and 3) a more nuanced zoning code to foster a more balanced approach when we are in boom cycles of development.
It’s sad that at the same time people are fleeing soulless cities looking for someplace to move to that has something other than generic architecture and overpriced retail / restaurants Portland is going full speed ahead at removing those types of places so that overpriced architecture can dominate our city.
This again… at the very least, I’d like to see them differentiate the portion of the building facing Glisan from the main bar of building mass and step it back at the cornice line at least 12′