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Apartment complex planned near Microchip plant

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Design calls for three-story buildings on 9.5 acres in Gresham.

CONTRIBUTED GRAPHIC - Four apartment buildings, each three stories tall, are planned for Stark Street in Gresham. More than 100 market-rate apartments are planned just west of Microchip Technology Inc. on Stark Street in Gresham.

Four buildings, each three stories tall, are proposed for the 9.95-acre lot located to the east of a residential neighborhood on Southeast 205th Place. The assessed value of the land is just below $1.2 million.

Infill engineer Rahim Abbasi said the site, branded as Baseline Apartments, will integrate "urban core" design principles, despite its suburban locale.

"You want it to still feel like it's a village, a place where people can live and be," he said during a Design Commission meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at Gresham City Hall.

Blueprints call for the construction of a new vehicle bridge over Fairview Creek, which curves through the property, and the conversion of an existing span into a bike- and pedestrian-only crossing.

Planners hope to place all four structures north of the waterway. Closer to the street, builders hope to site a clubhouse — featuring a communal kitchen, dining area, fitness room, business center and leasing office.

Other proposed perks include a dog-washing station and off-leash enclosure, a children's playground, electric vehicle charging station and WiFi in all common areas. Total shared open space would be set at 6,500 square feet.

CONTRIBUTED GRAPHIC - Builders hope 'urban core' amenities, including an off-leash dog enclosure, will attract tenants willing to pay market-rate rents.

The 104 apartments would be split evenly between one and two-bedroom units.

"(We want) to keep these folks from not commuting outside the Gresham area from work to home," explained Project Manager Eric Rouse.

Rouse said the owners envision high-tech workers from ON Semiconductor, Boeing and a nearby Subaru warehouse as possible tenants.

The rear half of the property — about 5 acres — has been targeted for donation to the city of Gresham. That move could allow the city to expand natural areas near Fujitsu Ponds on Glisan Street.

Commissioners expressed mostly positive feedback during the design consultation, which is not required under city code.

"You've given yourself a great challenge," noted Commissioner Pat Lando. "The story sounds great... but when I look at the images, it looks very urban and very disassociated with the site."

"It'd be great to sort of integrate that a little bit better," he continued.

Another commissioner, architect Bill Bailey, reminded the applicants to be mindful of the buffer zone between their property and Microchip. The software developing company is considering a 200,000-square-foot warehouse for its Gresham location.

Bailey also asked the private development group to return to the drawing board for the apartment's entryways.

"I understand what you're doing, (and) it's actually a pretty creative idea," he said. "At the same time, they appear to be minimized rather than emphasized, which is not what our code is promoting."