The Design Commission has approved the first phase of the Pepsi Blocks, part of a nearly five acre masterplan which was approved in 2018. Phase 1A will include an eight-story, 85’ tall building with 219 residential units (including 80 bedrooms of affordable housing); nearly 13,000 sq ft of retail space; the restoration of the existing mid-century bow truss Pepsi pavilion building; a publicly accessible plaza; and portions of a woonerf along NE Pacific St. The project is being designed by Mithun for Security Properties. 164 vehicular parking spaces and will be provided in two levels of below grade parking. 247 long term bicycle parking spaces will be provided in a secure bike room, including 17 spaces for recumbent or cargo bikes.
The masterplan boundaries include the superblock bound by NE Holladay Street, NE 27th Ave, NE Oregon St and NE 25th Ave, as well as a half block parcel at NE Pacific St and 27th Ave. The first phase will be located at the corner of NE Sandy and 27th.
The site is known for the 1962 pavilion structure, designed by Scott & Payne architects. The building was surveyed as part of City of Portland’s 1984 Historic Resources Inventory, and assigned Rank II, indicating that it may be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
The L-shaped residential building will wrap around the retained 1962 pavilion, with new pedestrian “mews” connections created between the pavilion and the new construction. A pass-through at level 1 would create a pedestrian connection from NE Sandy Blvd to NE Pacific St. Ground floor retail units will face both NE Oregon St and NE 27th Ave, with the balance of the ground floor occupied by work/live units, townhouse units, and residential lobby and amenity space.
The main body of the pavilion will be converted to retail uses, with the potential for the structure to be leased to one large tenant or multiple smaller tenants.
The pavilion’s sidecar element will be removed to create a new publicly accessible plaza. The intersection of NE Oregon St and NE Sandy will be realigned so that the two meet at a 90 degree angle, shortening crossing distances for pedestrians.
The existing facades on the pavilion building will be removed and replaced with a pattern of transparent glazing and chevy blue accent panels, based on the original design concepts for the structure. New entries to the pavilion from the plaza will be created, with aluminum plate canopies providing rain protection.
The mixed use building will have with two primary materials: ribbed metal for the building wing facing the mews and stucco for the wing facing the plaza. Other materials proposed include white vinyl windows, aluminum storefronts, and metal accent panels.
Phase 1A of the Pepsi Blocks was approved at its second design review hearing, held on September 19th 2019. The project had previously been in front of the Design Commission for Design Advice in May 2019.
In the Final Findings and Decision by the Design Commission the project was praised for the public benefits that it will bring:
The design review process exists to promote the conservation, enhancement, and continued vitality of areas of the City with special scenic, architectural, or cultural value. The proposal is an excellent example of the purpose of Design Review. It adds significant publicly-accessible open space, restores an existing mid-century building that is character-defining for this neighborhood and street, and proposes new buildings that are designed to highlight and complement the existing historic Pavilion. The proposal exceeds the applicable design guidelines, and meets the modification and adjustment criteria and therefore warrants approval.
Building permits will need to be obtained before construction can begin.
Full disclosure: the author of Next Portland submitted testimony in advance of the previous Design Advice meeting, on behalf of Docomomo Oregon.