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'A Magical Location'

Lake Oswego Review

December 3rd 2015

A year ago, Fee Stubblefield had a vision for the property at the corner of Boones Ferry Road and Kruse Way: a 133-unit senior living community with lots of open common space - a welcoming "combination of independent living, assisted living and memory care," he says, that would enhance senior living options for residents in Lake Oswego and the surrounding area.

Last November, the Lake Oswego Development Review Commission agreed, voting 3-1 to approve Stubblefield's proposal for the vacant lot. But now Stubblefield, the founder and president of The Springs Living LLC, has decided to go big with an expanded vision for the property.

Earlier this year, he scrapped the original plans for the residential center and will go before the DRC on Monday with a new proposal: 229 units in four stories, extending the residential care and congregate housing development onto the Kruse Way Place property next door.

Realtor Mary Jo Avery - who spoke in support of the original project last year - sold the additional property to The Springs Living this year, bringing the size of the proposed "Springs at Lake Oswego" to about 4.5 acres.

"It's going to have lots of great spaces to live," Stubblefield told The Review this week. "We've got multiple dining venues, activity venues, rooftop gardens. And I think it's really going to add to the presence at the corner of Boones Ferry and Kruse.

"It's a magical location," he adds, "because if you think about it, it's on the pathway that so many people in the area go by almost every day. It's in between all the hospitals and the shopping. It's just a very convenient place for families to be involved, to pop by. It's just a great location."

The proposed development, which was designed by Ray Yancy of Myhre Group Architects, will include a mix of residential units, from studios to one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Twenty-four memory care units are also included in the mix.

The four-story buildings will adhere to the city's 45-foot height limit and include two levels of underground parking with 237 spaces. The buildings will sit about 45 feet from Boones Ferry Road and 33 feet from Kruse Way, with a main entrance on Kruse Way Place. Landscaped sidewalks are planned along all three streets, with a plaza and fountain at the corner of Kruse Way and Boones Ferry Road.

Stubblefield says the philosophy behind such a residential center is shared space.

"A very large percentage of our square footage is in common spaces and public spaces," he said. "The whole reason is to create communities where the kids and grandkids want to come. It's just a really convenient location."

It's also a location that puts the project within the realm of the Waluga neighborhood and on the edge of Lake Grove, where residents have voiced their support for the project.

"We've been telling them we wish they would call it The Springs at Lake Grove," says Cheryl Uchida, co-chair of the Waluga Neighborhood Association, who testified in support of the smaller project last year.

Uchida says there are some concerns with the larger proposal, including increased traffic at the Boones Ferry Road/Kruse Way intersection and the proposed removal of 52 trees.

About 26 percent of the property will be landscaped, according to a staff report prepared for the DRC, and an additional 20 percent will be "open space." But Uchida says mitigation efforts may not be enough.

"Because really," she says, "you can't replace the bigger trees right away. But overall, we're going to be supporting the project, unless something comes up that we don't like."

Lake Grove Neighborhood Association Chairman Jerry Nierengarten says his group will also not object to the project. "Technically, it's in the Waluga (neighborhood), but I think we're fine with it," he says.

City staff is recommending the DRC approve the project and its conditional use permits. Johanna Hastay, an associate planner for the city, says she doesn't expect to encounter any design issues because the Myhre Group kept the same architectural style and complex, asymmetrical composition approved by the DRC for the smaller project.

Deeply recessed balconies, projecting eaves, varied roof levels and a mix of siding materials "create a richly textured and visually interesting facade," Hastay's report concludes.

"Although it got larger, we had already worked through the design discussion," she says. "We just had to make sure it worked on the larger site."

Three years ago, The Springs Living purchased Carman Oaks Assisted Living, rebranding it The Springs at Carman Oaks. The company also operates The Springs in Sherwood, Wilsonville, Clackamas Woods and Tanasbourne, as well as in Salem, Medford and four locations in Montana.

Stubblefield declined to put a price tag on the new project, saying only that the comparably sized The Springs at Tanasbourne cost about $50 million to build. "This one will cost considerably more," he says, "with underground parking and more expensive construction."

He says he is confident the DRC will once again vote in his favor.

"We're going back in front of (the city) to show them what we believe is a better project than what we showed them last year," Stubblefield says.

For more information about The Springs, visit www.thespringsliving.com