Riverplace Redevelopment Receives Design Advice (images)

Design Advice has been offered for the redevelopment of Riverplace, at the south end of downtown. The 8 acre site is being master planned by GBD Architects with Kengo Kuma and Associates, for site owner NBP Capital. At full build-out the site could accommodate 250,000 sq ft of office space, 2,500 apartments, 300 hotel rooms, 100,000 sq ft of retail space and 1500 vehicular parking stalls.

Riverplace Redevelopment

The project site is bound by SW Montgomery St, SW River Dr, SW River Parkway and SW Harbor Drive. Existing buildings on the site would be removed, including the former Riverplace Athletic Club (completed in 1986) and the Douglas Apartments (completed in 1993).

Riverplace Redevelopment

The redevelopment could include up to six new towers, with maximum heights ranging from 150′ to 325′.

SW Hall St would be extended through the site to meet SW Harbor Way. A new street parallel to SW River Dr would extend between SW Montgomery St and SW River Parkway.

Riverplace Redevelopment

A pedestrian bridge over SW Harbor Drive could connect the podium level of the towers to SW Naito Parkway.

Riverplace Redevelopment
Riverplace Redevelopment
Riverplace Redevelopment

At the intersection of SW River Dr and SW Montgomery St a new publicly accessible “plaza” space of approximately one acre is proposed.

The Portland Steps

At the center of the development would be the “Portland Steps”, described as “a series of interconnected platforms, stairways, ramps, seating and gathering spaces.” These would lead from the ground level at the plaza up to the podium level of the towers, and to the potential bridge to Naito Parkway.

Riverplace Redevelopment
Riverplace Redevelopment
Riverplace Redevelopment
Riverplace Redevelopment
Riverplace Redevelopment

The Riverplace Redevelopment has been in front of the Design Commission twice, for Design Advice Request (DAR) meetings on held on October 3rd and December 5th, 2019. Commission feedback from the second DAR was highlighted in a summary memo:

This proposal is an exciting opportunity to bring added activation, connectivity and density to this less developed area of the central city that lies so close to the Willamette River. The Commission appreciated the many improvements made since the first DAR. Moving forward, it will be important that this CCMS provides a strong framework for the new development while also addressing existing conditions, both on and off site, so future development will extend and enhance this area making it a successful part of the central city. In particular, the following critical elements were highlighted:

• A new intersection at SW Hall and SW Harbor Drive is critical, so please work with PBOT and ODOT to realize this.
• Another at-grade, east-west physical connection is needed thorough the large block fronting the regional bike path/ SW Harbor Way.
• The open spaces must be connected, easily accessible by the public, and should reach beyond the site to connect to the surrounding areas.
• The main plaza should be surrounded by active uses.
• Orient the tower bars east to west to increase permeability between them through to the river.
• The main plaza and A street should be activated with retail.

In order to gain approval the master plan will be required to go through a Type III Central City Master Plan Review, with public hearings in front of the Design Commission. Individual building would be required to go through a Type III Design Review.


14 thoughts on “Riverplace Redevelopment Receives Design Advice (images)

  1. Chalk this as one of those projects that will never happen or if it did it’ll be a loooong time from now. With the way the post office site is moving, or how Oregon square ended up happening, unfortunately this has no shot for a long time..

    • Uh, yeah it will be a long time from now. Large-scale urban design doesn’t happen quickly. It’s measured in 5, 10, 15, and 20 year intervals because projects like this are a massive undertaking. Do you realize how much money and coordination something like this takes? It’s not a 3-year project.

  2. The big projects are all just dreams. Portland just doesn’t have the potential for this sort of thing, unlike Seattle.

    • Tell me about it. They still haven’t even leveled the post office site for god sakes. The biggest project this city dreamed of and actually kinda did it was south waterfront and that didn’t even reach its potential. I would say the pearl is a true success but meh that’s a bunch of low rise Samo samo buildings there you can find on Williams street

      • The demolition of the main post office building can’t happen until the retail operation is relocated. The current plan is the for that to move into the ground floor of the existing parking garage, on an interim basis. The retail operation would then move again into a permanent home in one of the new buildings.

        The Central City Master Plan for the Broadway Corridor is working currently working its way through the approval process, with a second hearing scheduled for May. We’ll write a full post about it once it’s a approved.

  3. Yes, it can be frustrating to wait for large-scale projects to get built, but big projects are complicated projects that typically take 5 – 20 years to be realized, as RKSA48 pointed out. That does not mean that they won’t be built. The large Hudson Yard project in New York is a case in point. It’s already taken 20 years of work and is still not fully complete. (https://ny.curbed.com/2019/3/13/18252323/hudson-yards-new-york-construction-timeline).

  4. It looks like this project would replace a bunch of existing housing, housing that wasn’t built all that long ago. What do the people already living here think about this? I mean, if I was living in one of the units down there, I’m not sure I’d be too pleased with having my neighborhood torn up for some fancy high rises. Of course, if those are all rental properties, there isn’t really much you can do. Still, why uproot so many recently finished apartments and all those residents when there is plenty of empty land nearby? It seems wasteful and insensitive to me.

  5. Great project…I sure hope it happens! The bigger the project, the longer it takes to plan, let alone build. The massive Zidel mixed use riverfront project down the street…just as massive and exciting as this one, crashed and burned recently even before it got off the ground. I hope that does not happen here!

  6. Pingback: Nbp Capital Riverplace Redevelopment - HariDiary

  7. I think the biggest issue is displacing the hundreds of people, families and wildlife peacefully living at The Douglas. Can the current Portland housing market handle that many more renters?

  8. This would be realized right across the street from where I live. My concern is for public safety. This area is a flood zone being right next to the Willamette River. There are few ways to enter and exit. With the addition of massive amounts of apartments, retail, and parking (2500 stalls), in less than 2 block area, the projected size of this new restructuring will endanger the people who live in this zone.

  9. This project has been approved. For more info, contact the Downtown Neighborhood Association. They are actively keeping up with the project’s status/timeline.

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