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Alliance Residential brings Broadstone Enso to Pearl

Daily Journal of Commerce

November 4th 2008

Already flush with condominiums and former condos that are now apartments, the Pearl District will be getting a new mixed-use housing project designed and developed as an apartment complex.

Phoenix-based Alliance Residential is developing the Broadstone Enso, a six-story, 152-unit complex, which will feature a courtyard, an adjacent club room with wine storage and a fitness center. It will be located at Northwest 14th Avenue and Lovejoy Street.

The bottom floor will have 9,000 square feet of space reserved for retail. The project will start construction shortly, with Yorke & Curtis on board as the general contractor, and a completion date set for the first quarter of 2010.

The project has been a couple of years in the making, said its development team - time enough for its members to get accustomed to the Pearl District.

And though the project was always planned to be an apartment building, Alliance Residential believes it can compete with the neighborhood's more established condominium buildings.

"The quality of the specs are very competitive to condos," said Greg Spezzano, the director of Alliance Residential's West Coast operations. "If you look at the (rental) market now, you see that it has gotten very competitive."

One reason for this is the number of condominium projects that are converting to apartment complexes, including those in the Pearl District and South Waterfront. Still, Spezzano affirms that the Broadstone Enso will not be converted to condominiums even if that market improves.

Alliance Residential specializes in luxury apartments.

And for this luxury-apartment complex, bounded by Interstate 405 on one side and the streetcar on another, the focus of the design is on movement.

To achieve this, the building's axis corners at its northeast and southwest ends will feature a larger mass with the canopy trailing behind its edges, "almost like tails of a comet," said Allen Tsai, an architect for Myhre Group and the project's chief designer.

"We'll have these particles that look like they are in motion on the building's facade," Tsai said.

The six-story building is expected to stand out from the Pearl District's more "monolithic" developments, Tsai added, such as the Lovejoy across the street.

"We're trying to use the industrial character of the neighborhood," Tsai said. "We're doing this by using the metal-clad skin and using the concrete on the first floor."

The project is not expected to be a one-off deal for Alliance Residential, which is among the largest apartment developers in the nation with more than 40,000 rental units across the nation.

In fact, the firm plans to use its Pearl District project as a launching site into the rest of the Portland market.

Alliance Residential has been looking at other Portland neighborhoods for future expansion, and the company currently leases office space in the city.

The firm is keeping quiet on what neighborhoods it might target next but said it may make that decision by the time its Broadstone Enso project wraps up in 2010.

"Investors want to be in the Northwest," Spezzano said.