The Design Commission has approved the Fremont Place Apartments, a 17 story tower designed by TVA Architects. The 185′ tall building, being developed by the Lincoln Property Company, would include 275 residential units and a ground floor restaurant space facing the Willamette River. Parking for 149 cars is proposed in an underground garage. 481 long-term bicycle parking spaces as also proposed, with 206 provided in a bicycle parking room and the remainder in the residential units.
The Design Commission approval now been appealed to City Council by the board of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association.
The Fremont Place Apartments will be located on a riverfront site in the Pearl, to the northwest of Centennial Mills. The parcel at 1650 NW Naito Parkway is currently being used as surface parking, serving the adjacent Fremont Place II Office Building, which built in the 1980s. The remaining surface parking areas to the north will be reconfigured into a denser layout to compensate for the parking stalls lost as part of the residential development.
The Fremont Place Apartments are massed with an eight story podium facing NW Naito Parkway. The main body of the 17 story tower then rises from the podium. The tower is pushed to the northwest corner of the building, a response to zoning code requirements for setbacks from the river. Landscaped roof terraces will be provided at levels 2, 6 and 9.
Though not a protected view in either the current zoning code or the new code due to be adopted in the May, the massing is designed to ensure that the view of the Fremont Bridge from the Fields Park will be at least partially preserved, by the erosion of the building form at its southeast corner.
Materials for the building include clear glass, spandrel glass, flat metal panel, ribbed metal panel, fiber cement panel, brick, and board formed concrete.
As part of the development a new publicly accessible open space will be created in between the new residential building and the existing office building. The plaza will include a trees, a hardscaped multi-use space, a wooden ampitheater facing the river and built in seating.
The existing greenway trail, which provides public access along the river, will be maintained and improved with new landscaping. There is no currently public access along the river beyond the site until the Waterfront Pearl condominiums to the south. Until an adjacent warehouse is redeveloped the greenway will terminate at the Fremont Place apartments. New built-in benches will be provided at the interim greenway terminus.
The Fremont Place Apartments went in front of the Design Commission four times in total: for a Design Advice Request hearing in June 2017; and for Design Review hearings in September, November and December 2017. The project was approved by 3–1 vote, with Commissioners Clarke, Rodriguez and Molinar voting in favor and Commisssion Chair Livingston voting against the project. In the Final Findings and Decision by the Design Commission the project found the reference “the massing of historic buildings along the waterfront”:
The podium massing of the proposed building references the massing of historic buildings along the waterfront and in the Pearl District, such as Albers Mill, portions of Centennial Mill, and recent five- and six-story residential development southwest of the railroad tracks. The use of brick on portions of the podium also references this historic brick warehouse context and newer residential building context in the district.
The proposed building also incorporates large areas of glazing all around its facades, balconies, roof decks, and active ground floor spaces—all of which are common features on taller buildings in the North Pearl. The proposed development also incorporates significant areas of open space around the building, which is a common feature of development in the North Pearl and the waterfront area, especially.
After the project was approved the board of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association chose to appeal the decision of the Design Commission, citing a number of areas where they believe the project does not meet the zoning code or the discretionary design guidelines.
The City Council will consider the appeal of the neighborhood association on Wednesday February 21st at 2pm. If the council upholds the decision then building permits will need to be obtained before construction can begin.
Full disclosure: the author of Next Portland is employed by TVA Architects.