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Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Plans for a vaguely familiar building came through the design commission this September: A project that was parked two years ago has resurfaced under a new owner, Mapleton Waterloo.

SERA ARCHITECTS - The Jantzen Apartments U-shape honors the historical Jantzen Knitting Mills across the street.

"We bought the apartment building, the office building, the Hanna Andersson building and the development not too long ago," Adam Nathanson, president of Mapleton, told the Business Tribune.

It will soon start to become the Jantzen Apartments, located at 518 N.E. 20th Ave. in the Kerns neighborhood.

"In the courtyard we're trying to accomplish green space — we're really into all that stuff," Nathanson said. "We're working with Kurt (Schultz) to go through the process."

Kurt Schultz, principal with SERA Architects, is lead on the Jantzen apartments project.

"Mapleton took over the project when they purchased the site here early this year and decided to turn the project back on," Schultz said at the design hearing. "We took it off the shelf, dusted it off, met with the client, made adjustments for them and made adjustments we had heard from (design commissioners) Tad (Savinar) and David (Wark) and others two years ago."

The Jantzen Apartments is currently designed to be a six-story building with 230 residential units and about 120-130 underground parking stalls. The ground floor includes 21 apartments, 4,200 square feet of retail space along Northeast Glisan Street, a leasing office, fitness room and 272 bike parking spots.

The site is a piece of what used to be a four-block campus of the Jantzen Knitting Mills. The Mills building, across the street, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Jantzen Apartment's design reflects its U-shape.

The Jantzen brand, established in 1916, earned its fame for creating one of the first modern swimsuits — out of pure wool (so Portland). It also produced knit sweaters and woolen hosiery — in its original Red Diving Girl logo, she's wearing knit socks and a cap.

Currently, the lot is 40,000 square feet of surface parking, Club 21 (1,400 square feet) and Bloom Garden Center (5,000 square feet), which will both be demolished.

Since Hanna Andersson children’s clothing across the street uses the current surface lot, the Jantzen Apartments will likely share some of its basement parking with them. The Jantzen Knitting Mills building and the Hanna Andersson children’s clothing headquarters were all designed by Richard Sundeleaf in the ’20s.

Updating Jantzen

Two years ago, the designs commission and city staff stuck over the ground floor residential units, which they often now advise against, among other details including height modifications, canopies and the main residential entry.

Schultz had to unpause the designs, resuscitating them to better reflect the current neighborhood, old design commission requests and meet the needs of the new owners.

"This is an interesting neighborhood: it hasn't seen a lot of new development, a lot of the buildings were built in the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s," Schultz said. "It's definitely a transitioning area. The retail is now getting more active along Sandy Boulevard."

A potential sticking point is the height: because the site is across 21st Avenue from KATU, which has a helipad and dishes on the rooftop. KATU and Mapleton are working on an agreement to pull the modification request for increased heights on the apartments' penthouse, elevator and stairs "as a way to help alleviate their concerns," Schultz said. "It's not really a land use issues, it's more of a good neighbor, 'hey, let's help each other out' kind of thing, which they have been very good about doing."

Two years ago, SERA and the design commission discussed raising the stoops of the ground-floor residential units among other details about canopies and materials.

"There are actually things happening on Sandy now, so it's nice to see changes coming to an area that hasn't had any for quite some time," Schultz said. "Because so much building stock around here was built in the '20s, '30s and '40s, there's a real predominance of stucco buildings from that era with fine detailing."

To math the materials, the Jantzen Apartments is designed to be stucco, "giving unity to the building and unity to the neighborhood," Schultz said. "We want to create a very quiet and dignified building that will age well over time in this area that hasn't seen a lot of new development."

Activating the sidewalks

Along 20th Avenue, which looks across at the main entrance to the Hanna Andersson building, retail stretches along with fitness and lounge spaces, a leasing office and coworking offices.

SERA ARCHITECTS - The site for the Jantzen Apartments diagonally touches Sandy Boulevard, at Northeast Glisan Street and Northeast 20th Avenue.

"We wanted to put a lot of attention on 20th Avenue, supported with not only retail but also active uses of the buildings and lobbies," Schultz said. "The retail spaces that anchor all the corners really face out to Northeast Sandy and then support both sides of the plaza and park area of the project."

Most of the active uses front Glisan Street and 20th Avenue, and along the quieter streets of 21st Avenue and Hoyt Street the designs propose raised stairstoop entries with inset porches to the residential units.

"More than half the people living here work in their own apartments, work from home, and need some places to work," Schultz said. "There are coworking areas in the building where there can be tables, chairs, places for them to work that can also be connected to the street as a way to help activate 20th Avenue."

The first 25 percent of the courtyard will potentially be open to the public and the main entrance, with the last three-quarters open during the day but reserved for private residents after hours.

"20th Avenue is a really strong north-south arterial for quite a few blocks to get through town," Schultz said. "We wanted to create a south-facing courtyard that got a lot of light and follows the sun, and is a more open space for a neighborhood that actually doesn't have a lot of open space in this area."

Nathanson estimates the design commission should be able to make a decision on the project by the end November.

"I think the community is going to love it," Nathanson said. "We put a lot of time and attention and detail into that architecture. It blends in with the Jantzen building across the street, with a more deco kind of look."

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Jantzen Apartments

518 N.E. 20th Ave.

Neighborhood: Kerns

Developer: Mapleton Waterloo, LLC

Designer: SERA Architects

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