Place-making in Wilsonville
Each year, Key Home Furnishings in Lake Oswego goes out on a limb to make several predictions about the next Street of Dreams, an annual luxury home showcase organized by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland.
The predictions often are spot-on.
For the 2019 Street of Dreams, for example, Key Home Furnishings correctly identified general admission tickets would cost $20. The business also was on target with predictions such as the return of special events like the Chef Series and the Block Party during the nearly month-long event, which this year runs through Aug. 25.
But when it came to the location for the 2019 showcase, Key Home Furnishings' prediction of Happy Valley missed the mark — by about 20 miles.
The actual location — at Stafford Meadows in Wilsonville — may not have been one that many people expected, but it's one that makes perfect sense to the homebuilders group, according to Dave Nielsen, the association's CEO.
While the focus of the Street of Dreams is to allow visitors to experience residential luxury, including the latest in decor and technology, Nielsen's group also sees the event as a way to draw attention to new communities in the metro area.
"It's a way to get people out there ... (so they can) become aware of a new area that's going to have a range of housing," Nielsen said.
Last year, for example, the Street of Dreams siting at South Hillsboro drew attention to the start of development in an area that's expected to feature 8,000 new housing units — from single-family homes to apartments — for 20,000 residents by the time the development is complete.
Like South Hillsboro, the Wilsonville area where Stafford Meadows is located is at the beginning stages of development that eventually will bloom into 1,900 housing units by 2040, according to Miranda Bateschell, the city's planning director.
Step by step
Stafford Meadows is part of Frog Pond West. The 188-acre area, which was the brought into Wilsonville's urban growth boundary in 2002, is part of the larger 500-acre Frog Pond development that the city started planning in the early 1970s.
The city's plan for the completed development calls for a mix of housing types that will allow people to remain in the Frog Pond area — and their neighborhoods — throughout their lives. It's an approach that has already been employed for the mix of housing in Villebois, another master-planned community that's added about 2,000 housing units to Wilsonville's housing inventory in the past decade, according to Bateschell.
Frog Pond West, when fully built out, will contain about 600 homes, all detached single-family residences.
Frog Pond East and Frog Pond South, which are part of an expansion area expected to be brought into the city's urban growth area in the future, will feature other home types: duplexes, triplexes, cottages. There's even the possibility for some multifamily units to be built over some of the retail space planned for those two areas, Bateschell said.
The full development also will feature two schools, one of which opened in 2017, as well as parks and trails.
A matter of timing
The Home Builders Association has been interested in Wilsonville as a Street of Dreams location for some time, Nielsen said. At one point, about a decade ago, there was talk about doing a showcase at Villebois, but the timing wasn't right.
Timing and patience, as it turns out, are key components when it comes to picking the just-right spot for the Street of Dreams. The association begins accepting inquiries from developers for potential sites about three or four years out, but waits until about 18 months before the actual event date to make a final selection.
"You can't be too far out in advance because you can't be sure when the development (will be ready)," Nielsen said. "But if you pick too quickly and the developer is ready too soon, it makes it hard for developer to sit on a site and wait."
With the showcase regularly drawing between 40,000 and 50,000 visitors each year, the availability of parking or access to public transportation is always something that needs to be considered.
"There are a lot of parameters (for) our wish list, and sometimes we hit several things and sometimes we fall short," Nielsen said. "I would say there are very few perfect sites. There's no ideal for what a Street of Dreams should be."
There's also no limit to where in the Portland metro area the event might be located. In addition to Happy Valley and South Hillsboro, the showcase has landed in West Linn and Lake Oswego in past years. There was also a year, about a decade ago, when the showcase focused on penthouse condominiums in the Pearl District.
The sweet spot
Current development activity at Stafford Meadows made the location the right fit for the 2019 Street of Dreams.
West Hills Homes NW, which is the developer for the Street of Dreams, has another group of smaller, more modestly prices houses rising across the street from the luxury showcase. Another local builder, Pahlisch Homes, has a group of mid-sized houses going up to the west. Those houses, along with the six houses in the Street of Dreams, will help visitors begin to picture how the area will look as more houses are built in the future.
The Home Builders Association also uses the Street of Dreams as an opportunity to show visitors that there's more to the group's members than just luxury homes. Last year, for example, the event featured a 204-square-foot tiny house that was auctioned off, with the proceeds benefiting Oregon military veterans.
The association wasn't able to include a tiny house in this year's event, but Nielsen said there are plans to include them in the future. This year's event will provide information about the variety of housing being built in the Portland metro area by HBA member companies, from accessory dwelling units to condominiums to duplexes. There's also been a coordinated effort with the City of Wilsonville and the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce to help boost the local economy.
"We're working (together) to promote ... what the city has to offer and hopefully drive business to local area businesses," Nielsen said.
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