Alder.9 Returns for second Design Advice Request (images)

TVA Architects and VWR Development have returned in front of the Design Commission to present a project at SE 9th & Alder for the second time. As now proposed the nine story mixed use development would include 155 residential units over ground floor retail. Parking for 96 vehicles is proposed in an at-grade mechanical parking system. Long term parking for at least 233 bicycles will be provided.


The project site is roughly half of the block bound by SE Alder St, 9th Ave, Morrison St, and 8th Ave. An existing building, built in 1890, will be demolished. Two other buildings on the block, built in 1927 and 1970, are not part of the site and will remain. A Design Review is currently pending of a one story addition to the 1927 building at SE 8th & Alder. Other buildings planned or under construction on the lower Morrison St corridor include the Goat BlocksLittle LOCAModera Buckman, and Modera Belmont.


The building is arranged in a U-shaped plan, with a exterior courtyard for the use of residents at level 2. An amenity room and fitness room are proposed adjacent to the courtyard. A roof deck is also proposed at the top of the building. At the street facing elevations the building massed as three brick clad volumes, with a projecting metal grid inspired by the historic warehouses found in the district.








Alder.9 had its second advisory hearing on July 6th, following an earlier hearing in April. Changes made since the first iteration included the increase in height, from 7 to 9 stories; the introduction of mechanical parking; and the significant revisions to the exterior expression, in response to advice given at the first hearing. The Design Commission was generally very receptive to the changes made since the first iteration of the project.

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.


10 thoughts on “Alder.9 Returns for second Design Advice Request (images)

  1. For those that are tracking such things, this means we have 916 new apartments within a three block radius from 9th and Belmont. Anyone know of any extra city services or parks going in nearby? I know the Parks department just had a round of budget cuts. Where are the Parks System Development Charges going?

  2. I love the storage room concept in the basement, and wish more buildings had this (like mine, for example. I’ve got limited in-unit storage and no secure space out-of-unit, so I’m constantly donating stuff and reorganizing to be slightly more optimal in my storage). I am all about accumulating less stuff, but with the smaller size of units and general lack of storage space in-unit, it’s good to have somewhere to keep things like old family photos and belongings, holiday decorations, seasonal clothing items, etc. I would imagine such space would be doubly useful for any families that want to live in a building like this.

  3. Afik, none of the SDC’s, whether parks or transportation or?, are required to be spent in specific geographic areas, though that question is oftem asked. Transportation SDCs, for instance, are often used to fill in funding on projects which are partially federal grants, and need local funds to complete the project.

  4. I wonder if Portland really wants to see families in apartments. If so, someone needs to build 3- and 4-bedroom units. After all, bedrooms are about the cheapest rooms you can build.

    • I could not agree more! And they should not exclusively be 2500 sq ft penthouse units. Introducing more 3 to 4 bedroom/2ba layouts in the 1300 to 1600 sq ft range throughout different floors would allow families who want to live in the central city to stay. Hopefully, developers will take notice, now with the glut of studio apartments out on the market.

      • Most developers dislike doing anything over 2 bedrooms, and prefer to make even those a small portion of the unit mix. There are diminishing margins on how much they can charge per sf on larger units, and due to this, vacancies are higher. The most profitable units for the owner are the smallest. If we are serious about having more family sized apartments, we’re going to have to invest in some sort of subsidy/incentive program. We also need to look at what design characteristics make these housing types livable for families in places where they are much more common, like Germany and Sweden.

        • Those margins might start diminishing as demand fails to keep up with the ever increasing supply of studios and one bedrooms:

          A subsidy/incentive program can definitely help push things in the right direction, but hopefully developers will start seeing that there is pent up demand for larger apartments, and it makes economic sense to have tenants who will pay a bit more for a larger space and have less constant turnover. I currently live in the city center and barely have a chance to get to know my neighbors in studios and 1 bedrooms because they move so frequently, usually to a newer construction building that’s offering concessions. And my apartment is only 2 years old! Meanwhile, the 2 bedroom units, especially the young families, move far less frequently.

          The post you have below regarding communal spaces for families to play and socialize is right on point. If developers can make apartments pet friendly and bike friendly, they can make them kid friendly if an effort is made. Portland’s inner neighborhoods have property crime and vice etc, but overall it is much more livable for families than in most other cities. And while PPS has many issues, many of the public schools serving the inner neighborhoods range from okay to very good. Build the right multifamily housing, and people will come.

  5. Yes, and there are socialization advantages for kids sharing play space in parks and squares with other kids.

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