H is for Hyperloop
Picture this: Two skyscrapers towering over the Pearl District, connected by a glass-enclosed botanical bridge that is higher than any building in Portland now, surrounded by other high-rises that include retail, office, hospitality and residential spots.
This spot would also include a transportation hub for high-speed rail and possibly a Hyperloop near Union Station, the Greyhound Station plus Streetcar and bus stops.
Overall, this site would bring about 5 million square feet of new development to the city in the spot where the US Postal Service headquarters will be demolished.
Can you see it?
Even if you can't, the designers at William Kaven Architecture and Kaven + Co. can. And they intend to propose this to Portland city officials as soon as Prosper Portland allows.
One of the two towers "exceed 970 vertical feet, would be interlinked by a glass-enclosed botanical bridge spanning 236 feet across the North Park Blocks some 680 feet in the air," their press release states. The botanical bridge "would be a tropical respite from the gray of the city at any time of the year and provide breathtaking views of Mt. Hood and the entire city skyline."
The eye-popping proposal would be an "opportunity to lead the effort to build a bullet train network that links Portland to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver from the heart of an already-existing downtown transportation hub. There is no better place, nor a better time, than the opportunity that is upon us, with this huge site next to our historic train station," Daniel Kaven said in the release.
The project also has an eye on sustainability and clean energy, as the plan would include "on-site power generation from photovoltaics integrated within the glazing."
Project leaders also said the towers would be big enough to be the corporate headquarters "for a Fortune 100 company, such as Amazon."
Amazon, currently based three hours north in Seattle, has accepted bids from cities who want to have their second headquarters, including one from Portland recently. In that plan, Portland city leaders offered no incentives to Amazon. Instead they offered Amazon the opportunity to purchase land in the downtown U.S. Post Office distribution center for its proposed new national headquarters.
The audacious plans revealed did not include a price tag for the venture, nor how it would be paid for. Those details will be fleshed out when they officially submit their plan to Prosper Portland in the First quarter of 2018.
Daniel Kaven runs Kaven + Co., a development company with his brother Trevor William Lewis, who also runs William Kaven Architecture.
"We're responding to the request for proposals that Prosper Portland put out (which owns the land under and around the old Pearl District Post Office)," Daniel Kaven told the Business Tribune. "They will drill down with a public process, maybe to an RFP, but ultimately there is going to be more than one proposal."
Kaven says that the opportunity to develop 14 acres almost in downtown is too big to be passed up.
He says it is too big for one developer, and expects developers to partner up with each other and institutional investors.
Bigger than anything Portland has seen before — Big Pink would fit under the skybridge — Kaven says it would only take three council members to vote to double the building height limit for those few blocks.
"One thing we don't have in Portland is
a botanical garden," he added. "The idea came from my brother and myself." The towers were not inspired by one building but by multiple, including the Shard in
London and the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan.
The hyperloop will happen, he is sure.
"We are exploring it in the context of this massive development that will be here for at least 150 years. Instead of putting $3 billion into the Columbia River Crossing, why not have put that into the infrastructure in downtown Portland? Take people off I-5 and them live in the district. It's going to ease the larger growing pains of Portland."