Design Commission Approves 140 SW Columbia St (images)

The Design Commission has approved designs for full block, 20 story mixed use tower at 140 SW Columbia St, designed by GBD Architects. The project for Texas-based developer Alamo Manhattan will include  349 residential units, 15,000 sq ft of ground floor retail space within the ground floor. An above grade garage will include 236 vehicular parking spaces. 521 long term bicycle parking spaces are proposed.

140 SW Columbia St

The full block site was once occupied by KOIN, who planned to sell their building to KOIN Tower developers Olympia and York, in exchange for the rights to move into the new tower being built one block to the west. Early 1980s plans envisioned construction of a 15-story office building to replace the demolished KOIN studios. Today, the southern portion of the block houses a “bunker”, used as the sole parking and loading access for the KOIN Tower.  The northern portion of the block is used for surface parking.

In 1999 Louis Dreyfus Group, by then the owner of the KOIN Tower, announced plans to build a 15 story office building on the block. The site was eventually sold by KOIN’s parent company to the Goodman family controlled Downtown Development Group in 2013. In 2015 it was one of the candidate sites for the new Multnomah County Central Courthouse. Construction is nearing completion on The Porter hotel, located kitty corner from the site.

140 SW Columbia St

The building is massed as a five story podium, with an L-shaped tower above it. The podium contains the building’s parking, which is wrapped with residential uses on the north and west elevations. A single garage entry on SW Clay St will provide access to both the existing KOIN tower parking garage and the new parking for 140 SW Columbia.

At level 6 a landscaped terrace is proposed, oriented to the southeast of the block. Outdoor space is also proposed at levels 16 and 20. Building amenities shown include a fitness center, spin room, library and conference room at level 6, and a community room at level 20.

140 SW Columbia St

140 SW Columbia St

Materials proposed include brick in a running bond pattern, precast concrete, glass balcony guardrails, composite metal panel, aluminum window wall with vision and spandrel glass, aluminum storefront and metal canopies with wood soffits.

140 SW Columbia St

140 SW Columbia St

140 SW Columbia St

140 SW Columbia St

140 SW Columbia went in front the Design Commission four times in total, for design advice in October 2016 and for design review hearings held on in August, September and November 2017. At the project’s final hearing on November 2nd it was approved by a unanimous vote of the Design Commission. Before casting her vote, Commission Chair Livingston praised the project for the impact it will have on the adjacent neighborhood:

This is a remarkably strong proposal for this neighborhood. The greatest strength of this building is that it is doing some neighborhood repair. There is such a strong ground floor. Such nice building massing. Great materials. Our primary guidelines around public realm, context and quality and permanence are just so well exemplified in the design work that GBD has brought to us for this.

Building permits will need to be obtained before construction can begin.


14 thoughts on “Design Commission Approves 140 SW Columbia St (images)

  1. I think it’s just fine. The main thing is how it will bring more activity to an otherwise mostly quiet area of downtown.

  2. Happy to have the street level improvements. Just wish more of these 20-story projects would combine to add more 40-story true skyscrapers to Portland’s skyline.

  3. Kudos to the project team for the nice design.
    My favorite part is that Portland gets rid of a central city full block surface parking lot. (not meant as a backhanded compliment.)

    I hope they let the design team put in some street trees that can grow as big as the existing ones on site.

  4. “140 SW Columbia went in front the Design Commission four times in total since October 2016“

    My goodness what is it with this town moving so slow getting projects started?

    What is this ? That’s ridiculous

    • Funny, but are you implying that Design Review is at fault? Or do you imply that the design firm is at fault for so slowly proposing an acceptable design? Or do you mean that a design proposal’s first iteration should be sufficient for a rubber stamped go-ahead to proceed into construction documents?

      • Excellent questions. The design review process can seem frustratingly slow, but I invite those who want a speedy process to visit cities where new developments are less well scrutinized and to compare their results there with what is being built in Portland.

        • I can certainly understand that but these type of decisions need to be streamlined a little faster. You can still pass quality work in a timely manner.

          4 design reviews since 2016 is ridiculous

          • I suggest that you delve into the City record of this project on-line. Read the Design staff recommendations and subsequent Design Commission comments and conditions for approval. Maybe then you can assign blame to the party that dragged out the design review process.

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