Here's the full article. Fosler's comment that he "had restyled the project to look more traditional than modern, adding wood siding, white window trim and cornices" made me feel sick. This is the same guy who designed the "Freedom Center" in the pearl. I think it might be time for me to move to a city.
Also, that building (the Payne) is going up on Mississippi, not Williams.
Boise building boom has North Portland neighborhood edgy, developers moving cautiously
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012, 3:30 PM Updated: Monday, February 13, 2012, 4:28 PM
Cornelius Swart, Special to The Oregonian
A wall of windows presented by the new Albert Apartments as viewed from adjacent houses along Northeast Cleveland Avenue. With more four-story buildings on the way, resident concerns about privacy are once again on the rise.
As the market for urban rental apartments continues to grow, a batch of midrise projects is moving forward in sections of the Boise neighborhood along North Williams and North Mississippi avenues.
Developers appear to be moving cautiously in a neighborhood with a history of fighting over design and scale.
Developer Jack Menashe’s new 84-unit apartment building, formerly called The Rachel, at North Williams and Mason Street has been meeting criticism for months. At 350 feet in length, the building would take up the entire block, and neighbors have consistently complained that it’s too large. Adjacent property owners say the building’s windows will look down at single-family houses and they literally don’t want it in their backyards.
About 45 neighbors joined a Jan. 31 meeting with the Boise Neighborhood Association, Menashe and architects Trish Nixon and Greg Mitchell to discuss the project.
Association co-chairman Ted Buehler said neighbors wanted to see the building broken up into two buildings and for top floors to be set back. Menashe indicated that if the building were broken up, it might need to be even taller to make economic sense. While Menashe and the association haven’t reached a compromise, the groups will continue to meet.
The neighborhood has a history of contention over midrise, mixed-use projects. In 2005, The Mississippi Avenue Lofts near Skidmore Street sparked a divisive, yearlong public battle over size and design. In 2006, similar concerns arose out of Kirisu International’s Japanese garden and mixed-use project proposed for the corner of North Mississippi Avenue and Shaver Street. It eventually collapsed. In 2009, the Boise Neighborhood Association unsuccessfully fought Menashe’s other project on North Williams, the 84-unit Albert Apartments, all the way to the Portland Design Commission.
Buehler believes the Williams conflicts stem from the area’s unique zone, known as EXd. The zone is intended to accommodate commercial uses, but also allows housing.
“This is the only area of the city where you have this EXd zone back to back with residents,” Buehler said. “So you get a wall of apartments right up against single-family homes.”
Kay Newell, longtime neighborhood activist and owner of Sunlan Lighting on Mississippi, is also a member of the association. She waved off criticism that recent developments were unwanted or unforeseen.
“The city zoned this area in the 1990s for four-story buildings,” Newell said in reference to the Albina Community Plan, which had its own lengthy public input process. “Many of the people who are complaining now weren’t around when it (the planning process) happened and some who were didn’t understand what it meant.”
Newell believes urbanization is the product of decisions made decades ago to fight metropolitan sprawl.
Developers appear to be cautiously engaging the neighborhood association all the same.
The meetings between Menashe and the association recently attracted architect Agustin Enriquez of the firm GBD Architects. Enriquez approached Buehler about his new project, The Payne Apartments. The project, developed by Payne Apartments LLC, is a five-story, 19- to 21-unit building with 1,300 square feet of ground-floor retail, at 3703-3709 N. Williams Ave.
Enriquez has had another informal meeting with the association, but those working on the project have been otherwise tight-lipped. Calls to the firm were not returned. When asked about the details of the development, Heather Guthrie, an attorney and registered agent for Payne Apartments LLC, said she had “no comment.”
Meanwhile, a new 25-unit, four-story apartment building is planned for 3807 N. Mississippi Ave. The building, developed by WDC Properties and called The Miss, will be about 100 feet long and 45 feet deep, with no on-site car parking, 1.5 bike parking spaces per unit, and one retail and one live/work space on the ground floor.
Manager Rich Grimes declined to comment on the project.
“Generally speaking, we don’t like to talk about our projects,” Grimes said. “We like to fly under the radar.”
The development’s architect, Steve Fosler, however said he’d met twice with the Boise Neighborhood Association and based on their input had restyled the project to look more traditional than modern, adding wood siding, white window trim and cornices.
The association and Fosler plan to meet again in the coming weeks. Both Fosler and association members say meetings have gone smoothly.
The project's developers, however, have withdrawn its initial Type II development application and reapplied through the Community Design Standards process, which has stricter design criteria but requires less public involvement.
More community news on our North Portland blog