Old Northwest Meet New Northwest

Savier Flats Being developed by Mill Creek Residential Trust.

Northwest Portland is one of the city’s most love and historic neighborhood. It is also one of the densest with numerous old apartment buildings covering much of the area, especially east of NW 23rd. With its walkability and charm it is a quintessential Portland neighborhood and what many people imagine when they think of our fair city. It also a neighborhood about to gain a lot of new residents. At least 7 new buildings are some where in the development pipeline, with the two biggest already under construction. Collectively they will add 500+ apartment and over 10,000 square feet of retail to the neighborhood. Let’s meet the new neighbors:

Savier Flats

Already under construction, Savier Flats is the biggest development by far. With 179 units, 130 parking spots (below grade) and 6,000 feet of retail it will have an impact. It is being developed by Mill Creek Residential Trust, a large national developer,and is designed by SERA. It is located on two parcel on opposite sides of NW Savier between 22nd and 23rd. It is to consist of two, four story buildings. The design advice request can be seen here. As you can see from the rendering above it is using a neo-historic style which no doubt helps calm neighbors nerves, but did not stop the Willamette Week from calling it the “eye-sore of the week” before construction even began.

20 Pettygrove

20 Pettygrove. Image from the project website.

Scheduled for completion in May 2012, the 20 Pettygrove is another large project at 90 units. It is designed by William Wilson Architects. More information can be found at the project web site.


D16. Image from Brett Schultz Architects.

At 20 units, the D20 is one of the smaller projects under construction. It it a small infill project at the corner of Davis and 16th on a 100′ x 100′ lot. The architect is Brett Schultz Architects.

23rd and Lovejoy

23rd and Lovejoy Apartments. Image from SERA Architects.

23rd and Lovejoy Apartments. Image from SERA Architects.

The 23rd and Lovejoy is one of several projects being developed by C. E. John company, a Vancouver, Washington based developer/construction/management company. The project consists of 92 units of studio, one and two bedroom market-rate apartments over 2,000 square feet of retail. The project is targeting LEED Gold. There was recently a DJC article about the projects distinction of being one of the only developments approved to use vinyl windows.

1616 NW 23rd

1616 NW 23rd - West Elevation. Image from Portland Design Commission.

1616 NW 23rd - South Elevation. Image from Portland Design Commission.

The next project is also by C. E. John, but this time designed by GBD. It consists of 24 units over 4,500 square feet of retail in four stories. The project includes 18 parking spaces, 17 of which are mechanical parking. The report to the design commission can be found here.

NW Raleigh and 23rd. Image from the Willamette Week

This project is also notable because it is slated to replace a beloved Northwest institution, the New Old Lompoc. The Willamette Week did a blurb on it, which is where the image above came from. I am sure that many a person will be pouring out a little IPA in respect when they start doing demo for this building.

Slabtown Flats

Slabtown Flats. Image from the City of Portland Pre-application conference submittal.

L:ocated at NW Raleigh and 20th is yet another project by C. E. John, but now using Holst Architecture, designer of such notable housing projects as the Belmont Street Lofts, Clinton Condos and, just up the street, the Thurman Street Lofts. The plan as submitted to city is for 40 units in two, three story building and at grade parking for 35 vehicles.

The Sheldon

Not a lot of information on this project, even if it is alive or dead. It is a proposed 62 unit senior cooperative at the corner of NW 19th and Lovejoy. There was a  Portland Business Journal Article about it a while back. They have a website for soliciting new members if you  want more information.

Next up, the Conway land. They have been working their way through the permit system and we will no doubt hear a lot more about that in the future.


Old Town Stirring

I currently am down in Oldtown/Chinatown almost every day attending school in the building shown above. The area always strikes me as so full of under realized potential: its location, its history, its character and mix of people who live and work there. I recently saw John Jay, an Executive Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy, speak at the Portland Monthly sponsored Bright Lights speaker series. He has a deep interest in Oldtown/Chinatown on a personal and business level and a vision of the area as a center of Portland’s creative culture and entrepreneurial economy as well as Portlands connection to modern Asia. He sees it as a key piece of what he calls Portland’s creative corridor that stretches from the Ace Hotel in the West End to the White Stage Block and passes by many of the key business (Wieden + Kennedy, Ziba, etc) and institutions (PNCA, Art Institute, Pearl Galleries, etc) as it snakes its way through Northwest. He has also put his money where his mouth is and is part owner of Ping, a pan-asian restaurant at the corner of NW 4th and Couch Street and the Grove Hotel redevelopment.

As for the Grove Hotel, as reported in the Oregonian and DJC John Jay and his wive Janet, David Gold (who owns most of the block as well as other Oldtown/Chinatown Properties), Howard Davis and Alex Calderwood of the Ace Hotel are planning to remodel the decrepit building at NW 5th and Burnside into new retail spaces and a Asian themed youth hostel. He said they are trying to make sure that is is something unique and special that can serve as a hub for the neighborhood and a catalyst much like the Ace did for the West End while at the same time costing about $30 a night.

From the Oregonian

Several other projects in the neighborhood bode well for its future. The big one is the renovation of the Globe Hotel at NW 1st Avenue just across Couch from the White Stage Block, home of the University of Oregon’s Portland campus, into the new home for the Oregon College of Oriental Medecine. When it is completed sometime later this year it will bring some 260 students and 100 staff to the area according to the Oregonian. Already with the addition of the University of Oregon several business have sprung up to cater to student including a sandwich shop and cafe. In addition, the U of O has been enlarging it presence in the area including taking more space within the White Stage complex and expanding across the street the space under the Burnside Bridge next to Max stop.

Now if there were only more residents in the area…. and there will soon be. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce the Rich Block at the northwest corner of Couch and 2nd Avenue is going to be transformed by Innovative Housing into 34 200 to 400 square foot apartments aimed at young adults. Additionally, the Everett Hotel building at the corner of NW Broadway and Everett is being converted from what I believe was SRO units into 18 small apartment that are presumable aimed at the same market. While these two projects are relatively small they are important step in the path to the neighborhood realizing it potential.

I hope that the projects discussed above represent just the beginning of a more widespread rebirth of Oldtown/Chinatown. I see the potential and I also see businesses struggling: from the mostly empty chinese restaurants to the departure of the Woodlands, an independent fashion retailer, to the West End. But with the growing energy around Ankeny Alley on the south end and the Park Blocks on the West thing seeming to be working towards a steady if not radical improvement in the area’s fortunes. With the addition of new visitors, more student and a greater number of residents maybe this will be the beginning of the neighborhood’s renaissance. Let us hope so.

A sign of the future at NW 6th and Glisan?