Design Commission Approves Choice Cambria Hotel (images)

The Design Commission has approved a Choice Cambria hotel on the Pearl District’s North Park Blocks. The 6-story hotel is being designed by SERA Architects for Choice Hotels International. The development will include 178 guestrooms with a combined lounge/restaurant/bar area at the ground floor. A 1,700 square foot retail space is proposed at the corner of NW Park Ave and Couch St. No vehicular parking is proposed.

The project site is the half block fronting NW Park Ave, between NW Couch St and NW Davis St. Two existing buildings that will be demolished are located on the site: a 5-story brick building at 135 NW Park Ave, built in 1911; and a 2-story 1921 brick building at 105 NW Park Ave, built in 1921. Both were surveyed in 1984 as part of Portland’s Historic Resources Inventory, however neither is a designated landmark.

The building is arranged in a barbell-shaped plan. A recess at the center of the block responds to a new zoning code requirement to set back along the Park Blocks, in anticipation of the future Green Loop.

The proposed building will be clad in two colors of brick on its street-facing elevations: a dark
ebony color at the ground level and the full height of the recessed courtyard-façade and red
brick at the upper stories of the north and south wing of the building. The ground level will be articulated with “corduroy” brick detailing. The west elevation will be clad with red colored stucco. Other materials include dark bronze aluminum storefront, dark bronze vinyl windows, and metal canopies.

The Choice Cambria was approved at the project’s first Design Review hearing, held on January 27th 2022, following voluntary Design Advice Request meetings held on August 19th, 2021 and October 21st, 2021. In the conclusions to the Final Findings and Decision by the Design Commission it was found that the project “excelled” at meeting the Public Realm guidelines, however the Commission was divided as to how well it responded the Park Blocks context:

The Design Commission voted 3-2 to approval the proposal at the January 27, 2022, hearing. Commissioners voting to approve the proposal with conditions agreed with the revised staff report’s recommended Findings and conditions and added two more conditions of approval, “J” and “K” (below) related to the Findings for Guideline C5 – Design for Coherency.

Commissioners voting against approval found that the design of the building was lacking the personality that is characteristic of other development along the North Park Blocks and that an additional middle-level scale of detailing on the street-facing elevations would better satisfy Guidelines A5-1-2 – Reinforce the Identity of the North Park Blocks Area and C4 – Complement the Context of Existing Buildings. All commissioners agreed that the project excelled most at meeting the Public Realm category of guidelines.

Building permits will need to be approved before construction can start.


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