Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Local Weather

Light Rain

54°F

Portland

Light Rain

Humidity: 90%

Wind: 10 mph

  • 24 Oct 2014

    Showers 57°F 50°F

  • 25 Oct 2014

    Rain 63°F 48°F


Developer curries favor with locals over Belmont goat blocks

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - An artists rendering, by Ankrom Moisan Architects, of the LOCA development being proposed for the Southeast Portland goat blocks.The goats are still there for now, but the architects have sharpened their pencils and the bulldozers are idling in preparation for work on the “goat blocks.”

Within 30 months this long vacant patch of scrubland on the double block at S.E. 10th and Belmont will be home to new shops and apartments, the like of which are popping up on the east side but not yet on this scale.

Developer Killian Pacific of Vancouver plans to build 247 apartments, parking, plazas and 88,000 square feet of retail space. The project goes through its second hearing before the Design Commission on July 17. Neighbors have so far been placid in their response.

“So far the process has been good, the developers are listening to the neighbors, they understand them,” says Bob Kellett, Southeast Uplift’s Neighborhood Planning Program Manager. Southeast Uplift was started in the 1960s to oppose the Mount Hood Freeway. Now it coordinates 20 neighborhood associations and helps them navigate what’s going on with the city.

Kellett says the input is coming mostly from the Buckman neighbors, and the Central Eastside Industrial Council.

“It’s one of those parcels that has been vacant for some years. The goats added a different factor, made it a cool thing, but I think it also made people realize the value of the property,” says Kellett, who has a background in urban planning. “And that goats are not the best use of it.”

Killian Pacific brought in the goats to trim the grass three years ago. They have become an attraction, lending their name informally to the site. The goats have an active presence on Twitter and Vine, and have injected some cuteness into an otherwise drab, light industrial space just waiting to cash in on great city views.

The superblock is between Southeast Belmont and Taylor and Southeast 10th and 11th avenues. Some of the next block east is also included in the development.

“The vision all along has been to do something commensurate with the location, it being a hub for how the east side flows, as people come over the Morrison Bridge, shooting up Belmont and combining with the North South flow of 11th and 12th Aves,” says Noel Johnson of Killian Pacific.

“Our founder George Killian has one of the best guts in the country about what a site can be. We were just waiting for the retail and housing markets to overlap, and that doesn’t happen very often.”

He says the firm has turned down offers from the likes of Home Depot who “see a huge chunk of dirt close in and want to drop a big box on it.”

The project for now is called LOCA, a multiple pun on location, locavore, and crazy, according to Johnson.

The design by Ankrom Moisan Architects so far looks stylish and interesting. Of the six buildings planned, three are for rental housing, with 130 units, 70 units and 40 units. The southern one will be traditional industrial with a brick facade. The other two are tagged industrial modern and industrial minimalist.

City documents, show the project valuation at $57 million. Johnson says it is now more like $60 million.

The land cost Killian Pacific $3 million in 2000. The site was formely home to a produce market and the Monte Carlo restaurant. The latter burned down in 2002.

“Killian Pacific is trying to build and hold on for the long term. This is a more expensive project than normal, in the quality of materials and design. The exterior is not HardiePlank — it’s brick and high end metal, and the mechanical system is an energy efficient, centralized energy loop designed by Portland firm Interface Engineering.”

Matthew Kirkpatrick of the Buckman Neighborhood Association has been to several meetings with the developer. Kirkpatrick is an architect himself so he has a keen, if not vested, interest in the development.

“It’s been a good process working with the developers, they’ve been really open about the process and open to suggestions,” he said. “I don’t know of there’s a consensus yet — some people like it, some people don’t. But in general it’s clear the developer has good intentions for the neighborhood, and is doing something that’s going to be a positive.”

The developer is required by the city to reach out to the neighborhood for input. But profit is the driving force. The Buckman Neighborhood Association meets monthly, and usually has other things on its mind. Like the changes on East Burnside Street, which they consider a “high crash corridor.” Southeast Uplift is less about attracting

investment, more about strengthening

people’s neighborhood involvement.

Southeast Uplift’s Kellett says he hears rumors of what retail might be moving in, but adds the locals don’t normally have much say in the decision.

“Often it’s too late to influence the programing, some people will call me when the bulldozers come out and be like ‘Hey what’s happening there?’” Kellett says. “But in this case it’s a slow process because of the design review, and the developer has been cognizant of getting neighbor feedback.”

He expects a corridor of development to emerge along 11th and 12th Avenues. “Those close-in parcels of land are being picked off, given the zoning, they’re very desirable.”

Dana Krawkzuk (pronounced kraft-check) of law firm Perkins Coie is the attorney for the developer.

“We’re hoping the design review board can come to an approval at the second hearing, (on July 17)” she said. “It is a large and complex project so it could go to a third. Even half and quarter block developments usually take three hearings.”

A design review analyzes the building exterior, not the interior. No one can, say, tell the architect or developer to put the floral department of the large grocery store where it is more visible from the street. But they do have some say over the types of windows used.

Krawkzuk said at the first design review neighbors declared some of the finishes of the outside of the buildings “too busy,” and the architect went back and promised to use more brick.

The planned retail is a mix of large and small spaces. Portland has learned its lesson about the need for small spaces for pop up stores during lean times.

The developer Johnson adds that the firm “heard people loud and clear” when they said they wanted three bedroom units for families as well as ones, twos and studios. He can’t predict the demographics of the eventual renters.

“One thing I’ve learned during building 1,300 units of property is you can never accurately predict who’s going to live anywhere, that’s the beauty of America.You can have a doctor who never spends anything next door to a designer who spends 50 percent of their income on housing because they want to be somewhere well

designed.”