Home Firm Profile People Services Portfolio Awards News Careers Contact

MGA News

Neighbors' concerns drive revamped project designs

Daily Journal of Commerce

June 22nd 2015

The revised design for Core Campus' mixed-use project at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Harrison Street would step down on the side of the building that faces nearby Pettygrove Park. (Courtesy of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and Myhre Group Architects)

Neighborhood concerns have fueled significant adjustments to plans for two Portland projects undergoing the city design review process.

Neighbors of a proposed Hampton Inn & Suites hotel in the Pearl District and a planned full-block, mixed-use building near Portland State University testified to the Portland Design Commission last week that they were pleased to see their input reflected in revised project designs. But several neighboring residents said they had lingering reservations with the design of the proposed developments.

Design commissioners agreed and offered further suggestions on Thursday for how to ensure the developments would fit into the neighborhood context. Both projects must return before the commission for a future hearing to gain city design approval.

A third design review hearing for the Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel Pearl is scheduled for July 23. The project team for the Hub at Portland, a proposed 15-story, mixed-use building at the corner of Southwest Fourth Avenue and Harrison Street, sought commission feedback on the development in a fourth design advice request hearing on Thursday, but has not yet applied for design review, according to city planner Staci Monroe.

Hampton Inn & Suites Pearl

Wisconsin-based Raymond Management Co.'s Hampton Inn & Suites Pearl would be built in place of three older warehouse structures at 821 N.W. Everett St., 338 N.W. Ninth Ave. and 303 N.W. Park. The project is being designed by Madison, Wisconsin-based Gary Brink & Associates Architects and Portland-based Hennebery Eddy Architects. Plans call for an eight-story, 201,000-square-foot hotel with 243 rooms, 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail, 104 parking spots on the second and third floors, and an eco-roof on the eighth floor.

The proposed L-shaped building would wrap around the neighboring Park Northwest Condominiums, at 333 N.W. Park. In a design review hearing for the project last month, Park Northwest residents testified they had concerns with the proposed development, including noise from the hotel's rooftop mechanical equipment right outside their windows. They also urged the hotel developer to enhance the proposed eco-roof to make up for their lost views.

Hennebery Eddy founding principal Tim Eddy on Thursday told the commission that the project design team, after meeting with Park Northwest residents to address their concerns, had hired an acoustical consultant to analyze the anticipated sound of the planned mechanical equipment.

"The upper end of the noise is somewhere between a dishwasher and a conversation," he said.

The hotel's proposed eco-roof, designed by Portland-based Lango Hansen Landscape Architects, would also enhance views toward the building from Park Northwest and other surrounding Pearl District condo buildings, such as The Elizabeth, Eddy said.

"Instead of mechanical units, you'll see a green roof," he said.

Design commissioners said they were pleased overall with the revisions to the project design, but raised lingering concerns about proposed signage and lighting that would illuminate portions of the hotel faade. Commission Vice Chairman Ben Kaiser said he wasn't a fan of the cursive lettering on the Hampton Inn & Suites brand signs.

"I think it would help them to upgrade their sign packages," he said. "It kind of downgrades the architecture in my opinion."

Commissioner Guenevere Millius said she appreciated the design team's efforts to address the concerns of neighboring residents, such as commissioning the sound study.

"I think it's an extremely good gesture to make as a neighbor," she said. "I think it's come a long way."

Hub at Portland

Commissioners on Thursday also offered further feedback on the Hub at Portland, Chicago-based Core Campus' proposed development for a site at 325 and 333 S.W. Harrison St. that is currently a parking lot. Plans for the 15-story building call for 35,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor for a potential grocery store, 425 apartments on the upper floors, and 158 below-grade parking spaces.

Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and Portland-based Myhre Group Architects presented a design that had been significantly revised since the project last went before the commission in March. Changes included eroding away the portion of the building that would face nearby Pettygrove Park and the Halprin Open Space Sequence to offer a fourth floor green roof and terrace space. The taller sides of the building would face Southwest Fourth Avenue and Harrison Street.

"This is a great shape because it really addresses the urban edge on Harrison and Fourth (with) the bulk of the building being stepped way back," Myhre Group principal Bob Boileau said.

A large number of neighbors of the proposed project attended and testified at the hearing on Thursday. Neighbors reiterated concerns brought up at previous design advice hearings that the development would be out of context with the rest of the neighborhood and exacerbate traffic congestion in the area. Many also acknowledged that the design of the building has come a long way since the initial proposal and praised the project team for addressing their input.

"I would like to thank the developers who really did work with us on this," said Judith Buffo, a facilitator with South Auditorium Greenway Environs community group.

Design commissioners said they also believed the latest iteration of the project was moving in the right direction, but worried the proposed development was trying to pack too much into a constrained site.

"It still feels like it's spilling over a little bit," Commission Chairman David Wark said. "Loosen it up a bit Less square footage could benefit it."

Millius said she felt plans to include grocery store in the project might not be a wise choice.

"It's such a hard site to cram that use into," she said. "It would have to see most of its traffic coming on foot because they don't want to drive there. I'm in support of where the building is going. I think the design moves are there, but it feels like a lot to ask of the site."