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  #61  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2013, 1:29 AM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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Originally Posted by 2oh1 View Post
I assumed it's a plaza leading toward the building's main entry, sort-of similar to the one Eliot Tower has.
Are you talking about the 2,400 square foot grass yard on the west side of the building that goes totally unused and is barricaded off from the street, or the tiny 1,500 square foot public plaza that is an extension of the well-used pedestrian street that leads to the Portland Art Museum?

To me, the public entrance plaza on the corner of the Eliot that faces PAM is completely different than this plaza proposal. They aren't even detailing any street furniture, which to me means that they aren't even thinking about public uses. I fear it may end up on this list:

Project for Public Spaces HALL OF SHAME


I should add that one of the reasons that Portland enacted its building codes, which are some of the best in America, was in direct response to Portlanders outcry against the modernist towers constructed downtown. You know the ones, such as the Wells Fargo Center, which features a blank wall around much of the block, or some of the other buildings that line 5th or 6th avenues and feature sunken or walled-off plazas.

I think this is a bad move for ZGF. They even depict a wall between the sidewalk and their "plaza."
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  #62  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2013, 3:28 AM
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I'm confused. I was looking at the image posted on the previous page of this thread and thinking I was seeing sidewalk and a sidewalk plaza that stretched from the street to the south to the building's entrance. I don't see any grass to the west. I see a two or three story section of building that meets the street. Are we talking about the same project? The wall between the sidewalk and the plaza looks like it's maybe 2 feet tall.
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  #63  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2013, 4:46 AM
JG573 JG573 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2oh1 View Post
I'm confused. I was looking at the image posted on the previous page of this thread and thinking I was seeing sidewalk and a sidewalk plaza that stretched from the street to the south to the building's entrance. I don't see any grass to the west. I see a two or three story section of building that meets the street. Are we talking about the same project? The wall between the sidewalk and the plaza looks like it's maybe 2 feet tall.
In the first part of his post he is talking about the Eliot because on 11th ave there is this grass enclave fenced off to the public for residents only and it is uninviting but not really a big deal. It could be better used especially with the streetcar there but like I said it is not big deal but could have had better use to it.

He was asking if you where talking about that or the plaza on 10th in front of the Eliot entrance.

Anyways I sort of agree with zilfondel the plaza in front the "Overton Apartments" is quite large and a waste of space and it would have to be done right for me to like it but it is better than the driveway. I would much rather see the townhouses brought down farther to Overton or even the low rise portion wrap completely around the building.

Besides those qualms I have with the building I like the angle and design of the tower and I hope they go with the unified version and we can see some color in the pearl as some of that is lacking.

Edit: Looking at the design review file I also think instead of the "live/work" units facing 13th it should be retail.

Last edited by JG573; Nov 6, 2013 at 5:11 AM.
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  #64  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2013, 4:28 PM
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I agree with most of the concerns expressed about the plaza and building setback.

I looked at the zoning ordinance and it appears this block isn't required to meet the building line requirement although virtually all of the central city has this requirement. For some reason many of the blocks north of Northrup are exempt.

While it may be legal to build a large plaza like this, it seems counter to virtually everything in the Zoning Ordinance - the 10' minimum setback, the requirement to have at least 50% of a building face within 10' of the sidewalk, the required windows along a street to activate the street. All these requirements are intended to make a safer and more active pedestrian experience. This kind of large plaza seems counter to most city goal.

I'm hoping the Design Commission helps the developer/architectural team create a stronger street scape by placing more active uses along the sidewalks.
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  #65  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2013, 6:49 PM
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Wow. Apparently, I was in a rush because I completely misread his post.

I agree that the plaza on the west side of Eliot Tower is a very poor use of the land. It's surprising, especially when you consider how open of a pedestrian walkway they created on the north side of the building. I was actually referring to the plaza on the northeast side of Eliot Tower.

I'm still a bit confused about the plaza we're talking about with the Overton Apartments tower. In this image, I'm not seeing the plaza walled off. I certainly hope it isn't because that'd be wrong in so many ways.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2829/1...7baf5b50_o.png

On the other hand, this image makes it look like it is walled off:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7358/1...ef8e94a1_o.png

I sure hope that second image is wrong.
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  #66  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2013, 3:33 AM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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I think that if ZGF worked on the plaza and the podium building into a unified design with retail or some other function, it could work. But spaces that are isolated from the street like that don't normally make ideal urban spaces, particularly if they are just open to the street. The elevations and plans depict a roughly 3-4' tall walled planter with 20' trees growing out of it, creating a separation from the widewalk. (pdf pgs 18-20) You could end up with a homeless population trying to sleep in the area, for one. Secondly, if it is not public, whats the point?

Small plazas like this usually need some sort of activity - usually retail - to active them and provide "eyes on the street."


---

Looking at the design PDF, on page 13 it looks like the plaza acts as a driveway to the garage, an entrance to the tower, and an open space that fronts the live/work units. Perhaps some of the live/work could run retail out of the units, although they would have no exposure. Cars will also probably use the space as a turnaround, much like the circle by the Marriott Residence Inn down in South Waterfront. I saw a tower in Vancouver BC that was kind of like that as well. [streetview linkie]

So, I don't know. I'm sure that the design and detailing of the plaza, including the materials, will be very high. But it seems awfully large for not really doing anything besides handling cars. And I guess I've answered my own question.

Here are the images from the ZGF pdf I'm talking about:

Site plan of the building - you can see the garage entrance on the east of the tower:


Southern elevation from the street:



Come to think of it, this design reminds me of the plaza in front of the Elizabeth in the Pearl. But they put a really cool restaurant building on the corner and the lovejoy columns on display.

Last edited by zilfondel; Nov 7, 2013 at 3:44 AM.
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  #67  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2013, 4:27 AM
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^Looks kinda like a porte cochere to me. Valet parking, expensive cars could be parked in the 'plaza'.
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  #68  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 6:54 AM
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Looks like that 26-story proposal for Overton in the Pearl has been modified - it's now 5 stories - no, just kidding, what they've changed is they've modified that "driveway" we were complaining about. Now instead of being possibly something you could drive into, it looks more like the courtyard of the Elliot, facing 11th.
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  #69  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 7:14 AM
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I'm all for increasing density especially in the Central City but I don't get 26 story towers in the north Pearl especially when everything around is at most half that height. You can still get the same density with a mid rise model, like Paris. I'm very much in the camp of Lennard-Crowhurst & Mehaffy featured in the recent NW Examiner on building height.
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  #70  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 10:08 AM
philopdx philopdx is offline
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Originally Posted by pdxstreetcar View Post
I'm all for increasing density especially in the Central City but I don't get 26 story towers in the north Pearl especially when everything around is at most half that height. You can still get the same density with a mid rise model, like Paris. I'm very much in the camp of Lennard-Crowhurst & Mehaffy featured in the recent NW Examiner on building height.
If that logic applied everywhere, you couldn't justify any building in any part of the city being over 20 floors, since they are usually surrounded by buildings less than half their height. I mean, to be honest, in the grand scheme of density, 26 floors isn't a whole lot.

80 floors? Now THAT would be an interesting debate to have in Portland.
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  #71  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 4:19 PM
pdxtraveler pdxtraveler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxstreetcar View Post
I'm all for increasing density especially in the Central City but I don't get 26 story towers in the north Pearl especially when everything around is at most half that height. You can still get the same density with a mid rise model, like Paris. I'm very much in the camp of Lennard-Crowhurst & Mehaffy featured in the recent NW Examiner on building height.
Hoyt is doing a 29 story tower and a 16 story tower within blocks, so it isn't completely alone.
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  #72  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 4:45 PM
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Originally Posted by pdxtraveler View Post
Hoyt is doing a 29 story tower and a 16 story tower within blocks, so it isn't completely alone.
Besides, I thought the point was to have taller towers at the north end of the Pearl.
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  #73  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 5:11 PM
maccoinnich maccoinnich is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxstreetcar View Post
I'm all for increasing density especially in the Central City but I don't get 26 story towers in the north Pearl especially when everything around is at most half that height. You can still get the same density with a mid rise model, like Paris. I'm very much in the camp of Lennard-Crowhurst & Mehaffy featured in the recent NW Examiner on building height.
The thing is that you can't, unless you're willing to allow mid-rise buildings everywhere in the city. The vast majority of the city is zoned at R5 densities or below, and the residents of inner Portland neighborhoods would be out with pitchforks if there was any attempt to change that. Heck, they don't even much like mid-rise buildings on the commercial corridors which are already zoned to allow Paris scale development.

And FWIW, the Pearl District Neighborhood Association has been generally supportive of the latest high-rise proposals, so why not allow new development where both a) the market seems to support it, and b) the existing neighbors don't mind it?
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  #74  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by maccoinnich View Post
The thing is that you can't, unless you're willing to allow mid-rise buildings everywhere in the city. The vast majority of the city is zoned at R5 densities or below, and the residents of inner Portland neighborhoods would be out with pitchforks if there was any attempt to change that. Heck, they don't even much like mid-rise buildings on the commercial corridors which are already zoned to allow Paris scale development.

And FWIW, the Pearl District Neighborhood Association has been generally supportive of the latest high-rise proposals, so why not allow new development where both a) the market seems to support it, and b) the existing neighbors don't mind it?
If Portland wishes to respect the urban growth boundaries, they are going to eventually need to allow more units being built on lots that either have existing buildings or lots that can be redeveloped to handle the future growth of this area.
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  #75  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 10:31 PM
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Height and density

The US and the market place has created two affordable construction types for medium-high density residential use.

Wood frame construction is highly affordable up to 5-6 stories. Higher than this isn't generally allowed by code.

PT concrete buildings are highly affordable at much greater height and density for residential use. Above 75' the high rise code requirements kick in. These life safety requirements and the concrete systems work to drive up costs such that owners want and need the maximum density to smoke projects feasible given high urban land costs.

Steel frame systems generally are not cost effective for residential construction other than low rise where it's more costly than wood.

We see many 4-6 story and many 16+ story residential projects as each of these is optimizing the density and costs within that construction type.

We don't see many buildings in between 6-16 stories because the fundamental land and construction costs don't usually gelid feasible projects at these heights.

There are exceptions and clearly some countries and cities have created financial and code models that support these middle heights. Unless do eyeing major changes in Portland we are unlikely to see many new residential buildings between 6-16 stories.

Our code and financial models and the urban growth boundary work together to encourage maximum densities within the zoning envelopes and construction types....and density is our friend. It makes sense out of our transit infrastructure, reduces travel, pollution, need for new roads and sewers, and it allows access to a rich array or shops and services within walking distance.
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  #76  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2014, 10:30 PM
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Drawings for that 26-story tower on Overton - warning, 57mb

see pages 113, 119, 128-133.
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  #77  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2014, 12:43 AM
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It's a sexy tower. But I have doubts.

1) No outdoor space from units
2) Units seem overall small
3) Some units don't have true bedroom doors

Will this be condos or rentals? I sure hope its not going to be condos :/
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  #78  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2014, 1:10 AM
maccoinnich maccoinnich is offline
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The sliding door into bedroom thing seems to be a pretty common device, and I've seen it done in many other buildings. I think it works fine for one bedroom apartments, but I'm skeptical that it provides enough acoustic separation when a unit is shared by multiple people. The unit sizes seem pretty standard to me: most are between 670 SQ FT and 940 SQ FT.

The design has come a long way from the first image that was posted here.
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  #79  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2014, 2:46 AM
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These are rentals, I'm pretty sure.
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  #80  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2014, 2:53 AM
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From what I can tell, it looks like the City shut them down on the ground level autozone and requested the design be more urban. I'm happy for that!
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