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Wizer Block: Oswegans will give the project life

“It is a building designed by committee; all they have been able to agree on is that it should be rectangular, have windows, and not fall over.”

— writer and humorist Max Barry

Hopefully, that quote brings you a chuckle as we all end a long, first phase of redeveloping the Wizer Block. By no means, however, does the sentiment of the quote apply to the final design that was recently and overwhelmingly approved by City Council.

The process that brought us to that approval is the result of a committee or community of very engaged Lake Oswegans, who through their input helped shape the project. To them all I say thank you for your guidance. You helped our design become an even better one.

The Lake Oswego of today did not happen by accident. It took vision and careful planning and, yes, opposition from concerned citizens. The debate was often passionate. At its inception, Lake View Village also was strongly opposed. It, too, went through a metamorphosis or several and came out as a Lake Oswego landmark. I am confident that the redeveloped Wizer Block will become another Lake Oswego landmark.

My team and I don’t just put up rectangular buildings with windows. We don’t just put up structures. We design and build ambiance. We anticipate how building designs meet each community’s demographic needs while at the same time making sure they will be economically and environmentally sustainable. Every one of our projects is designed to fit the character of the surroundings in which we build. We are recognized for our focus on making decisions about quality of design and construction for the long term, rather than for the short term.

The Wizer Block will be a series of architectural buildings and facades that citizens and visitors do not merely look at. They will be able to move around them and through them. The pedestrian walkways, the landscaping and art work, the retail and restaurants will draw energy and provide the special quality of life that city planners and leaders envisioned for the core so many years ago.

The debate about the fate of the Wizer Block has been robust and transparent, and communities often emerge stronger as a result of differences of opinion. I have high hopes that this will be the case in Lake Oswego. No one person has a lock on ideas. Good ideas come from everywhere and from everyone, and the Wizer Block will be the work of Lake Oswegans. My team and I will shape the structures, but you will give them life. Architecture is the setting; people are the community.

I am excited about this project, this town and its people. I pledge to you all my commitment to deliver a project that lives up to the high quality that we as a company are known for, and that it lives up to the high standards and expectations for which this community of Lake Oswego is renowned.

Patrick H. Kessi is the founder and president of PHK Development, Inc., developer of the Wizer Block.

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