Englund Condos move forward once more
Coast River Business Journal
February 1st 2009
The Astoria waterfront condo project slated for the old Englund Marine Supply building site on the north side of the RiverWalk between 15th and 16th streets took another step forward last month.
The city's planning commission approved a new plan for the proposed complex, which has an estimated project cost of around $12 million to $14 million. The revised proposal takes into account last year's ruling by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals that restricted the project's height.
A previous incarnation of the condo proposal called for two buildings 35 and 45 feet in high, with a 118 ft. wide public pedestrian plaza built out over the river.
The new version will be restricted to 28 ft high and will run parallel to the shoreline, instead of perpendicular. The full length of the proposed structure will be 346 ft. and include two public piers. A maximum of 26 units are planned, with an average of 1,450 sq. ft. each.
The commission also granted the revised project a variance to a city waterfront requirement that 75 percent of the ground floor of buildings must be reserved for tourist-oriented space, allowing the entire building to be devoted to residential units.
In addition to the applicant and building owner - Englund Marine - other partners in the project include developer Chester Trabucco, area business owners Eric Paulson, Randy Stemper, and Shawn Teevin, and Portland attorney Thane Tienson.
Trabucco said the Jan. 15 approval was subject to a 15-day window for filing an appeal.
Astoria property owner Robert Stricklin filed the previous appeal that sent the project to LUBA. As of CRBJ press time, no decision had been made about whether to pursue a second appeal.
"The venturers in the condo project are Astoria's most prominent citizens, and warrant esteem of their peers," Stricklin said. "In question is the effect of projects such as this on the aesthetic character of the downtown river front. Sweeping views of the river and Washington hills beyond, unobliterated by rows of condominiums, are what most distinguishes Astoria to both residents and tourists."
Trabucco described what could be next for the development.
"In the context of the economy, we believe there is some pent-up demand for that location," he said. "We are expecting that in this environment we would probably need to have 50 to 60 percent of the units spoken for prior to construction in order to obtain funding."
He said assuming no appeal is filed, the next opportunity to drive pilings in the river for the new building is November 2009. He said the process of securing contracts, completing designs and geo-technical surveys could delay ground-breaking until early 2010.
If an appeal is filed, it could add another 16 months to the time frame, which would delay construction until mid-2011.
Trabucco said Myhre Group Architects from Portland will handle the design.
"We will be very sensitive to developing a project that will be as good looking as it can be," he said. "We've given a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of money to get something that could be decided upon. We've done our homework."