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Hillsboro's AmberGlen neighborhood buzzing with construction, new apartment buildings, potential MAX

The Oregonian

November 24th 2014

The Orenco neighborhood isn't the only one in Hillsboro where a new skyline is emerging.

Construction is underway on a 352-unit, 10-building apartment complex in Hillsboro's AmberGlen area, and a recently completed 203-unit development is now leasing.

Developer Arbor Custom Homes is behind both projects. The just-completed complex, along the west side of Northwest 206th Avenue between Cornell Road and Amberwood Drive, boasts a pool and is pet-friendly, and the surrounding sidewalks smell of freshly laid mulch. There are studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units available.

The incoming complex is farther south, on the northeast corner of 206th and Wilkins Street.

AmberGlen, which sits across Cornell from the city's successful Tanasbourne retail development, is largely quiet today. Its wide streets are not congested, and much of the plentiful office space seems empty. But city planners envision the neighborhood as a bustling community of more than 6,000 medium- and high-density housing units, 500,000 square feet of retail and 3 million square feet of office space.

The area will also be home to a future park at the corner of Amberglen Parkway, Gibbs Drive and Compton Drive, and it could even include a streetcar.

Metro's 2014 Regional Transportation Plan Update shows a possible light rail extension in a loop originating near the Quatama/Northwest 205th Avenue MAX station and heading north through AmberGlen, west toward the city's industrial areas and back south, rejoining the system near the Washington County Fair Complex.

And Hillsboro Planning Director Colin Cooper has described a streetcar that could go on and off of the MAX tracks, on a similar path. Bus rapid transit is another option.

The dense, vertical AmberGlen and Orenco Station developments contrast with the city's South Hillsboro project, an effort to increase the city's population by about 25,000 with single-family residential housing south of Tualatin Valley Highway.