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Fairview apartment complex receives rare allowance

Daily Journal of Commerce

December 24th 2004

When the architects of The Lodges at Lake Salish in Fairview started designing the high-end apartment complex, they realized they would need to build more units than what the city of Fairview's current codes would allow to make the project profitable for their client.

"We needed to make the project pencil out," said Brian Laramee, project manager with Myhre Group Architects.

Myhre Group's solution was to go to the city and apply for an increase in allowable unit density without a variance. After what Laramee described as "a long and difficult process," the solution worked, and Myhre Group received a density bonus from the city of Fairview to build an extra 25 units for the project.

"We went through numerous city council meetings," Laramee said. "We had to convince Fairview that this project was going to be a good and positive thing."

Myhre Group received the density bonus from the city of Fairview, which raised the total number of units to be designed to 203, on the provision that several elements - including the preservation of public space, streetscape improvements and the protection of community views - all be incorporated into the project.

"We allowed for a 15 percent density bonus above what our code typically allows," said Melissa Slotemaker, associate planner for the city of Fairview. "That kind of allowance isn't very common for our city."

With the density bonus approved, the design process for the project got back on track.

"Our goal was to create something that was unique and different," said Sarah Adams, spokeswoman for Myhre Group. According to Adams, the most significant feature of the project, which was completed earlier this year, is the design of the lakeshore that was developed into a community wetlands park. The park's amenities include an enhanced riparian buffer, a public pedestrian trail system, multiple fishing nodes, interpretive signage and picnic areas.

"It is just a beautiful property," Adams said, "and it has the feel of being in a really unique setting."

The project consists of 18 separate lodge style buildings each featuring views of Mt. Hood and the adjacent Lake Salish and northern wetlands. The apartment buildings were designed with earth-tone facades, metal-accent roofing and a combination of horizontal lap and rough-sawn board and baton siding.

"We used high-quality materials," Adams said.

According to Adams, the goal of Myhre Group for the project was to create a high-end, esthetically pleasing apartment complex that would appeal to potential residents who would be willing to pay the additional cost to live in a well designed community.

"The Gresham/Fairview area is a very competitive market, and this project has done phenomenally well in that market,"

Adams said. "They have far surpassed their competition."

Now in the lease-up phase, the apartment complex is more than 50 percent occupied and more than 70 percent leased.