Planners OK redevelopment of Cedar Hills Shopping Center
The Beaverton Planning Commission voted Wednesday night to approve the proposed redevelopment of the Cedar Hills Shopping Center, a project one member likened to Hillsboro's Orenco Station.
The redevelopment calls for six 6-story buildings with a total of 509 apartments. Two of those buildings will offer 56,388 square feet for retail space on their ground floors. The 7.5-acre site also will have 576 parking spaces, 337 of them underground.
Commission member Terry Lawler said the redevelopment will be Beaverton's first high-density center planned to take advantage of its location, just across the Sunset Highway south of the Sunset Transit Center. She drew the comparison with Hillsboro's Orenco Station, a mixed-use development around TriMet's Orenco light-rail station.
"That has come up from nothing. It's amazing. Now it's a destination," Lawler said.
"I think this area, including more properties on the other side of the transit center, is going to be a destination development where there will be more opportunities for people to discard their cars because there will be more uses within walking distance."
J. Peterkort & Co. owns land that is scheduled to be developed on the north side of the Sunset Highway. The planning commission approved a hotel, office and retail development for a sliver of that area on July 17, but almost 90% remains undeveloped.
The redevelopment will replace the Cedar Hills Shopping Center, built in the mid-1950s, which is a car-oriented commercial development typical of its era.
"When it was built, it was the center of the neighborhood," said Fred Gast, who spoke for Urban Form Development Co. of Vancouver, Wash., which bought the site earlier this year and annexed it to Beaverton.
"Our goal is to energize this as the center of the neighborhood."
As president of Polygon Northwest, Gast helped develop Timberland Town Center about a mile away in Cedar Mill. That center opened in 2015.
Some neighbors dissented during public testimony. Although most said they welcomed new development to replace what is there, they raised concerns about increased traffic, insufficient parking and too many apartment units.
"As its own development, it's nice," said C.J. Shumate, who argued that it was an urban project misplaced in a suburb. "But if you look at the surrounding development, it's a monster. It's just huge."
But Gast said that under 20-year-old plans by Washington County, which adopted them after westside light-rail service began in 1998, more intensive development has long been envisioned around light-rail stations.
"In essence, we're executing a plan that was put in place decades ago," he said.
Though the planning commission voted for the redevelopment, the Beaverton City Council will have to approve two changes to the city development code to make the project possible.
One change would allow for buildings 100 feet tall within a quarter mile of light-rail stations. The current code allow 100-foot-tall buildings only within 400 feet of light-rail stations; the height limit then falls to 60 feet. (Gast said no building in the Cedar Hills redevelopment would be higher than 80 feet.)
The other change would allow the floor area ratio to increase from 1 to 2. City planners said several recent buildings already have higher ratios.
Commission member Kim Overhage dissented from the code changes. She joined others in three 5-0 votes for the project itself, but said that higher height limits for buildings near light-rail stations should be considered area by area.
"I would like to have us see more thought and more discussion for the other ones," she said.
Beaverton has seven TriMet MAX light-rail stations. The Beaverton Central Station already is the focus of new development, including the recently completed 230-unit complex known as The Rise Central. A 125-room Hyatt House hotel is under construction, and the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts and an adjacent seven-story garage are in the final stages before a formal groundbreaking in November.
NOTE: Reposted to add quotes, correct spelling.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)