Tigard names tiny new downtown street Attwell Place
A stub of a street recently built in downtown Tigard officially has a name.
The Tigard City Council voted unanimously March 7 to name the road, a dead-end street jutting east from Ash Avenue south of Burnham Street, as Southwest Attwell Place.
The new street takes its name from the Attwell Off Main mixed-use development in the 12700 block of Ash Avenue, the first building of which which was cleared for occupancy last month and has begun leasing out apartments. The development project is built by Capstone Partners LLC, in partnership with Tigard's urban renewal agency.
The site was previously occupied by the Tigard Public Works Department. Sean Farrelly, Tigard's redevelopment project manager, said the city had an idea of what it wanted to see there instead of the old public works yard — so when it found a developer interested in constructing mixed-use buildings there, he explained, it made a deal to sell the land while shouldering a portion of the system development charges that all builders must pay to support city services in Tigard.
Capstone was the developer behind Cannery Row in Sherwood, another public-private partnership. Jeff Sackett, Capstone's co-founder, said he saw similar conditions in Tigard, with the added bonus of not having a recession to slow down or jeopardize the project.
"Tigard's a good place to live," he said. "Anybody that lives in Tigard loves it here."
The developer named the project "Attwell Off Main," with "Attwell" referring to its position "by the water" — namely Fanno Creek — and "Main" referring to Tigard's Main Street, just a couple blocks west along Burnham Street.
"We had quite a spirited, multi-party, internal discussion about the name of the project over months and months and months before we landed on 'Attwell Off Main,' and the street name kind of flowed from that, obviously enough," Sackett said. "But naming a project is almost as hard as building one."
A second, larger Attwell Off Main building is expected to open in May. With 139 units — there were originally going to be 140, asset manager Stacy Blanton said, but one top-level unit was removed to make room for the building's two rooftop decks — it will have significantly more apartment space than the first Attwell Off Main building, although it won't have any retail space.
The name of Attwell Place was proposed by the developers. According to Tigard city staff, Washington County requested that the Tigard City Council pass an ordinance to honor their request and formally name the new street, as the name was not included when the street dedication was recorded with the county surveyor's office.
"Normally, these don't even come before City Council," Mayor John L. Cook remarked. "They're normally done at the tract basis … before they go to the county for platting. So this is the first time that we've ever actually voted on a street name that I remember."
The right-of-way now named Attwell Place was dedicated in November 2015, as work on Attwell Off Main got underway.
The road is currently a very short dead-end, but Sackett said plans call for it to eventually be extended to intersect with Burnham Street.
Ash Avenue itself is interrupted just past the intersection with Attwell Place, with a non-contiguous segment of the road continuing on the south side of the Fanno Creek greenway.
That greenway and trail, Blanton said, "sold" Capstone on the Ash Avenue property.
Sackett said the landscape design of the larger Attwell Off Main building, on the side of Attwell Place closest to Fanno Creek, is meant to integrate the greenway into residents' communal space.
"What's wonderful about this whole site is you sort of own the greenway," Sackett said. "It's essentially your own private backyard for this apartment community."
Fixtures and finishings at the Attwell Off Main apartments, which start at $985 for a studio unit, are attractive and modern-looking; Sackett repeatedly compared them to those you might find in luxury apartments in Portland's Pearl District. Three-bedroom and townhome units are spacious, with generous natural lighting through large double-pane windows. The apartments, which are just across the street from the Ash Avenue Dog Park, are also pet-friendly and have plenty of space for bicycle parking and storage.
The first building is already at 70 percent occupancy for its apartment space, and talks are ongoing with prospective tenants for its two ground-level retail units, according to Capstone.
Blanton said the company plans to start leasing out units in the second, larger building as soon as early April.
A digital presentation on Attwell Off Main produced by Real Estate Investment Group last fall describes the development as "a vital part of Tigard's downtown improvement initiative, bringing housing, retail, jobs and essential revitalization to the city."
Farrelly echoed that assessment.
"It's a really important part of the revitalization, because it's going to bring a new large group of residents who will be able to take advantage of the businesses on Main Street, restaurants and shopping, and take advantage of the very good transit service," Farrelly said.
He added, "The presence of the transit center, WES service and the possibility of light rail coming, with a station in downtown, would make it a very attractive area for people to live and work in and recreate in."
Much of downtown Tigard is included within an urban renewal district, the formation of which voters approved in 2006. The district collects property taxes above a capped level and puts them toward a list of projects voters have approved, in an effort to revitalize the "blighted" area.
Tigard voters will be asked in May to expand the urban renewal district, slightly broadening its tax base. Another measure will seek approval for a second urban renewal district in the Tigard Triangle, a larger area of the city to the east of downtown.
By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor, The Times