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Thin is in for Portland condominium

Daily Journal of Commerce

January 12th 2004

Gray Purcell Inc., a commercial general contractor that has completed more than 500 construction projects in the Portland metro area, is calling its latest work - a tall, skinny condo project with quirky color combinations and tile accents - a done deal.

"Everything about this project was unusual," said Gray Purcell President Mike Purcell, referring to the $4 million Mosaic Condominium project that his company constructed at Southwest 11th Avenue and Columbia Street in downtown Portland.

While the shape of the 8-story, 37,000-square-foot, mixed-use project may be usual for Portland, Canadian developers A. Fraser McColl and Don Charity thought the design was the perfect fit for the Rose City.

"The developers have built in a similar way in Victoria, British Columbia," Purcell said.

McColl and Charity began their condominium project by tapping into the design talents of Portland-based MYHRE Group Architects.

Purcell's company was brought in to serve as general contractor about halfway through the project. The unique design of the building allowed the company to tread into new territory.

"Our challenge was to build to local codes, which don't favor 'needle' tower construction," Purcell said.

While the physical shape of Mosaic Condominium may be a rarity in Portland, the building contains at least one feature the local design community is well acquainted with - an ecoroof that helps treat rainwater before it runs into the city's sewage system.

Mosaic Condominiums features 40 units - a mix of two-level townhouses and one-level lofts that range in size for 460 square feet to 1,191 square feet.

Street level units can be converted for use as retail spaces. The building features state-of-the-art Internet wiring and bike storage for tenants.

"The Mosaic is the new kid on the block; but it will be a welcome neighbor," Purcell said.