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East End Redevelopment District: A Shared Vision

The vision behind the East End Redevelopment District was to use high-quality design to attract people and businesses back to downtown Lake Oswego. The landmark Lake View Village was the beginning of a bold, public-private investment. It built on traditional architectural values to shape special downtown spaces and create significant public value. This kind of redevelopment encourages other innovative development on adjacent blocks, resulting in a more vibrant Lake Oswego Village.

I admired the foresight and tenacity in the creation of Lake View Village — it was a tough project to introduce to the community. Today, there’s no doubt that it was a vital strategic step in the right direction, attracting people who want to work, shop, play and invest in downtown.

I am drawn by the vision of a destination downtown Lake Oswego. My team and I are working closely with the community to take the next step in designing and building another high-value project known as the “Wizer Block,” or Block 137.

In May 2013, our team presented a project to redevelop and revitalize this block with significant community benefits. It creates new ground-floor retail to synergize and supplement existing retail. It provides new housing options for young professionals and “empty nesters,” introduces more public parking spaces, public art and urban amenities — all built to the exacting standards of Leadership in Energy & Environment Design (LEED) certification.

Our development will create up to 1,200 temporary construction jobs, 100 permanent jobs, generate a projected $600,000 in new property tax revenue for priority community projects and services, and generate estimated construction excise tax revenue of $250,000 for Lake Oswego public schools.

At more than 20 public hearings and community meetings, our initial ideas met with substantial community support, as well as opposition to some aspects of the project design. We asked the city for more time for additional community meetings, and I am excited to present a greatly improved project. It responds to expressed community concerns and is compatible with our downtown neighbors.

This newly redesigned Block 137 project includes the best suggestions of city staff, neighborhood residents and business and community leaders, including:

n Scaling down the project into several distinct facades and segments, reducing the mass and maximizing the village design characteristics;

n Removing the fifth story — no building is taller than four stories (as permitted by city code);

n Reducing the density and number of residential living units;

n Increasing the amount of commercial spaces; and

n More adherence to the distinctive historic traditions of Lake Oswego-style architecture.

We worked closely with the city-selected architect to study the design code, study community comments for and against the project and pick the best architectural responses. Many changes required difficult choices and added cost. But these kinds of projects require that level of commitment. We believe in the revised design. We believe that it meets the code standards. We believe it will be another high quality redevelopment in downtown. We celebrate traditional village architecture, creating significant public value, providing homes and places to shop that will add to the vibrancy and quality of the village.

We are excited to submit the redesigned Wizer block to the city this week. Take a look at the project website, www.keeplakeoswegovillagevibrant.com, and study the shared-vision redesign.

We look forward to another review of this important development of which we can collectively be proud. Together, we can revitalize this significant block, enhancing our common goal of a more vibrant downtown Lake Oswego Village.

Patrick H. Kessi is principal of Evergreen Group LLC.



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