Alta Centric Approved by Design Commission (images)

The Design Commission approved the Alta Centric, a new mixed use building in Goose Hollow designed by SERA Architects for Wood Partners. The 7 to 8-story building will include 203 residential units and a small commercial space facing SW Morrison St. 15 vehicular parking spaces are proposed, accessed from SW 17th Ave.

The building will be subject to the city’s inclusionary housing rules, which require the provision of affordable housing or the payment of a fee-in-lieu.

Alta Centric

The project site at 1634 SW Alder St is the western half of the block bound by SW Morrison St, 17th Ave, Alder St and 16th Ave. The site is currently occupied by a 2-story 1925 office building and associated surface parking. The development will abut the 1927 Commodore Apartments, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1634 SW Taylor will join two other development in Goose Hollow by Wood Partners: the ART Tower and the Alta Peak. Other projects planned nearby include the Press BlocksLincoln High School1715 SW Salmon St1440 SW Taylor and 1500 SW Taylor.

Alta Centric

The building is arranged in an E-shaped plan, with two exterior courtyards facing the interior of the block. Due to the steep grade of SW 17th Ave the building will be 8-stories facing SW Alder St, and 7 stories facing SW Morrison St.

Exterior materials proposed include brick in limestone, pewter and dark brown colors, black vinyl windows, aluminum storefronts and painted fiber cement panels.

Alta Centric

The Alta Centric was approved by a unanimous vote of the Design Commission at a hearing held on March 5th, 2020. The project had previously received Design Advice in May 2019.

In the conclusion to the Final Findings and Decision by the Design Commission the project was commended for how it responds to the Goose Hollow context:

The proposed building will complement existing development in the Goose Hollow area and build on the area’s sense of place The proposed building’s massing, form, materials, proportion, scale and rhythm characteristics reflect and complement neighboring buildings. As a predominately masonry structure, the design will bring a high-quality, tactile, durable material that will express skilled craftsmanship and that is appropriate to the building’s context in Goose Hollow. The new building will improve the pedestrian realm and contribute to a vibrant streetscape by providing visually interesting frontages and active ground level uses along two of its three abutting streets that will help attract pedestrian activity to the area. The proposal will create enclosure with an attractive street wall along the SW Alder St, SW Morrison St and SW 17th Ave pedestrian right of ways.

The Alta Centric will need to obtain a building permit before construction work can begin.


10 thoughts on “Alta Centric Approved by Design Commission (images)

  1. Another wasted lot space downtown goes to a short stubby building instead of building high density residential skinny towers

  2. On the other hand, it fits the context of SW Morrison with the historic landmark Commodore on the east, and with a somewhat lower-scaled red brick apartment building across SW 17th to the west. Context trumps height in this case.

    • Density is building up in a form of a real tower that houses more people. Portland continues to waste open lots in downtown on short stubby buildings like this shows the lack of vision to house more ppl for a growing city

  3. Sam, I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about density and height. Manhattan is the poster child for vertical urbanity and perhaps helps to form your idea about its virtues. But it’s important to look at where the buildings are tallest on Manhattan and who actually uses those heights. The greatest concentration of height is in Midtown, south of Central Park. What spaces are the upper reaches? Corporate offices and expensive condos. Why? Because going tall costs more. And just think of central Portland and its tall buildings. Are they any different? If I’m not mistaken, the tallest building under construction in Portland today is the Ritz Carlton, combination hotel and condominiums. Woo do you think will use it?

    And let’s look more specifically at the density question. The 7-8 story Alta Centric will occupy half a city block and provide 203 apartment units. The recently built 28-story Cosmopolitan Apartments occupies a full block in the Pearl, “soars” to 28 stories and has 168 units. Which provides more density? How is this possible that the three times shorter building does? The former provides housing primarily to lower and middle income renters whose living spaces will be modest, while the later offers grand spaces to the affluent.

    In many ways it comes down to this: For whom are we going to build our city?

    • Wow, thank you for that insightful comment David. Can NextPortland start a comment of the week like BikePortland? I don’t know how many times I’ve read that same complaint about wasted density and building heights on this website and this should be the default answer every time. Bravo.

    • David, thank you for so clearly making the point that height does not equal density. A clear example is Paris where most buildings are 5-6 stories tall with a height limit around 120 ft. Yet the Paris’ population density is around 55,000 per square mile. By comparison, depending on the source, Portland’s population density is around 4900 per square mile.

  4. I don’t know if anything higher would fit so to speak right in front of providence park…..even in Manhatton they have City coding for example next to the MET where the museum stays small and sells its tall airspace to the neighboring TALL block.
    Oregon also only has 4 million people in about 800 square miles versus Manhattons 10 million in 100 square miles

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