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Hotel designs approved; new office coming soon

Hotel designs are done on the block northeast of Lownsdale Square following a year-long series of redesigns surrounding existing buildings on the site.

Ankrom Moisan Architects (AMA) designed the new boutique hotel and an office building to be developed along Third Avenue and Salmon Street. In early July, Portland’s Design Commission approved the boutique hotel design after a design advice review and three design review hearings. The office building will be reviewed separately, beginning in early August.

“As we started looking at the site itself and the needs of the city for the development, (the owners) were really interested in pursuing an office use and high-end boutique hotel,” said Michael Great, managing principal with AMA on the project.

SUBMITTED: ANKROM MOISAN ARCHITECTS - Designs for the hotel show a sidecar-style segment that replicates the scale of the historic Auditorium, shown in brick red, above the hotel lobby.

Design details

The hotel is planned to be 20 stories and reach 200 feet, even though the zoning allows for 350 feet of height. It’s proposed to have 245 rooms, a 20th-floor pool and a rooftop bar.

“The floating plant wall in those renderings was also elemental to draw people to the center of the block — that’s where the main entry to the hotel is,” Great said. “We wanted to push retail to the corners to create a lot of active levels.”

Two large restaurant spaces are planned to be along Lownsdale Square, along with a hotel bar adjacent to the lobby. An east-side entrance will lead to a rooftop bar. The southwest side of the hotel will scale to the Auditorium with a sidecar look, and its greenroof slants toward the rest of the hotel.


“An angled greenroof drops down into the hotel lobby through the skylight,” Great said. We’re trying to bring a lot of light and green, the Portland experience, down into the lobby of that hotel.”

Between 16 and 20 hotel rooms will look directly out onto the sloped greenwall. Both projects are aiming for LEED Silver or higher, and have highly efficient mechanical system, greenroofs and highly insulated facades.

“At design review we talked a little about how in terms of the scale, that neighborhood is tall to the south of us, but the Yamhill historic district is to the north — one reason we’re maintaining the office building at 10 floors,” Great said. “We could go taller, but chose to remain at 10 stories under the 150 foot height limit to respect the historic district to the north.”

As for the hotel, that’s not the case.

“Given that we’re right across from a federal building which is 350 feet, we felt a taller building there was more appropriate to anchor the site to tall, federal buildings,” Great said. “The hotel is positioned strategically to get views out out the river and out to Mount Hood.”

Saving some history

Currently, the block is home to the Albion Hotel, Lotus Cafe and Workmen Temple, which will be leveled, and Auditorium and Music Hall Building, which is being saved, left alone and incorporated into the design as a historical site under a different owner. The site also has a parking lot at the southeast corner.

All three have a circa-1915 brick look and while the Albion Hotel and the Workmen Temple could qualify, only the Auditorium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Over the past year AMA’s team has spent designing this duo, they’ve taken that into account, initially looking at ways to save the Workmen Temple.

“We studied the option to keep at least the Workmen Temple for almost a year, but in the end we decided to replace that building,” Great said. “There was a lot of conversation with a number of groups in town about the demolition for at least the Workmen Temple and so we did delay the demolition permit submittal for I think the full 120 days or even more, to continue to vet options.”

“I don’t know how much it slowed things down, but it definitely slowed things down,” Great said. “That was part of us doing our due diligence as well.”

His team did submit a demolition permit application to the city mid-July, but doesn’t know when it will go through.

“We spent a lot of time and effort, and the developers spent a lot of money attempting to look at other options, but in the end this is the direction that we went,” Great said.

So, only the Auditorium will stay (under separate ownership), with a new hotel and office building surrounding it.

“The scale of the hotel next to the Auditorium building was something we talked a lot about,” Great said. “Maintaining a scale that respected the auditorium building was important to everybody, so that’s the direction we went with that.”

SUBMITTED: ANKROM MOISAN ARCHITECTS - The office building is planned to be 10 floors high to respect nearby historic buildings.

Challenges and rewards

“My favorite part really is being able to design on a block like this in terms of having two buildings so close together that can really start to reinvigorate a neighborhood,” Great said. “The building on the site now and the site itself, there isn’t a lot of activity or energy happening down there.”

With the opportunity to design two projects side by side, Great, a native Portlander, is excited about his opportunity to re-energize this part of town.

The most challenging part of designing this project is the funky shape of the site, causing the hotel will sit on three-eighths of the block to wrap the Auditorium in an L-shape.

“The most challenging part was probably fitting a hotel on that site,” Great said. “There are a lot of programs in there — back-of-house, conference center spaces, ballrooms — it’s very specific in terms of its sizing needs.”

“Trying to fit that on a site that’s not a full half block, it’s an awkward proportion, an awkward shape,” Great said. “Trying to fit that all on the site was challenging for sure.”

Materials and parking

“The hotel is brick around the entire first floor, trying to tie in more with the historical buildings to the north,” Great said. “The upper floors are metal panels and as much glass as we can get for the hotel suites themselves.”

The office building is planned to be two shades of terra cotta, with plenty of light coming in through the northern facade. The terra cotta identifies with masonry and ceramic tile seen in the historic district.

“The terra cotta is another reference to historical buildings in the Yamhill District, which are made of terra cotta tiles from the early 1900s. A lot of the rest are actually brick,” Great said. “It’s a modern interpretation of what’s been built there.”

The office building will have two floors of below-grade parking beneath itself, but the hotel has no plans for additional car parking.

“At the hotel we have lots of bike parking for the employees, and the owners are also under contract with existing parking garages near the site,” Great said. “The thing about a hotel is it tends to use parking after all the office population has gone home, so it’s a really nice synergy with parking structures that are typically empty in the evening, and it actually works out really well.”

They’re not sure yet which hotel will run the new building, but intend to announce it soon.

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Sidebar: Third and Salmon

Designer: Ankrom Moisan Architects

Developer: Third & Taylor Development LLC, a partnership between Onder Development and Arthur Mutal

Contractor: Turner Construction

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