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North Portland development's design now more pedestrian friendly

Daily Journal of Commerce

January 22nd 2014

Seattle-based Security Properties has revamped its plans for a six-story, 260-unit apartment development on the North Williams Avenue-Vancouver Avenue corridor, and the result is a more pedestrian-oriented design with smaller commercial spaces in lieu of an anchor space.

The development company last week submitted its application for a Type II design review with the Portland Bureau of Development Services, following early advisory meetings with the city and Boise neighborhood stakeholders, according to an announcement Security Properties released Tuesday.

Plans originally called for Orchard Supply Hardware to serve as the development's anchor tenant, but the hardware retailer pulled out of the deal in September. Jeanne Muir, a spokeswoman for Security Properties, said Orchard Supply Hardware's departure allowed redesign so that spaces would cater to pedestrians rather than truck drivers.

"It had been designed around having a 65-foot truck to serve Orchard Supply," Muir said. "Once that no longer became key to our strategy, we were able to turn that central courtyard into much more of a woonerf."

A 'woonerf' is an area designed for pedestrians but shared by cars. Security Properties envisions a 21,000-square-foot central courtyard that leads to residential stoops, patios and the entrance to the vehicle garage, which will have 240 stalls. The company also plans to include 300 bike stalls.

Ground-floor retail space on North Williams Avenue will run from Mason to Skidmore streets, while the facade along North Vancouver Avenue will remain mostly residential. Those units are slated to be three-story townhomes in order to better mirror the single-family homes across the street, according to the announcement.

For the interior courtyard, Security Properties is introducing "live-make" units a twist on live-work units, but with an emphasis on production. The company added the units in response to residents' desire to continue the corridor's industrial tradition of making things.

Security Properties closed on the purchase of the 91,000-square-foot, full city block from the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs in December for $4.2 million. OAME will remain in the existing 40,000-square-foot building until construction starts in 2015.

The project's designers are Portland-based Myhre Group Architects and Seattle-based Bumgardner. Security Properties will present its updated plans to the Boise Neighborhood Association's Land Use and Transportation Committee on Jan. 27, at 7 p.m., at the Q Center, 4115 N. Mississippi Ave.

Michael Nanney, director of multifamily development for Security Properties, said in a prepared statement that the company anticipates being able to potentially incorporate additional elements suggested by neighborhood residents as officials work with city staffers to finalize plans.