North Anchor representatives share details on hotel, multi-family buildings
North Anchor project representatives engaged the Lake Oswego community during a public meeting Aug. 25 to discuss updates on a topic that has loomed large at the city level for years.
Key players — including the North Anchor Plan project team and Urban Development + Partners (UDP) — shared an update on the proposed hotel and residential complex before answering questions that focused on parking, possible challenges and specific amenities such as bike parking.
The project is expected to bring a mixed-use complex to the property on the stretch of B Avenue between State Street and the alley between First and Second Streets.
The city's efforts to develop the property date all the way back to 2004, when the North Anchor block was listed as the centerpiece of the city's East End Redevelopment Plan. The City began acquiring parcels at the site in 2010, and the first request for proposals (RFP) went out in 2015. About a year after a prior proposal for the site fell through, the city reached a memorandum of understanding with UDP this past June.
UDP's mixed-use proposal for the North Anchor site includes a lounge area and rooftop access, 80 multi-family residential units, 60 hotel rooms and 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space.
"We're excited to have this public meeting and input. This is really early in the design process," said Nathan Cooprider, principal with Nathan Cooprider Architect, LLC, adding that the firm has been analyzing what a hotel could look like in Lake Oswego. "Part of that process is looking at architecture in Lake Oswego that is inspiring to us in the design of a hotel."
UDP is Cooprider's client for the hotel project.
Cooprider said brick and basalt are great materials that tie into Lake Oswego's history. He's also noticed darker prominent roofs, bright colors, classical simplicity and buildings that fit comfortably into Lake Oswego's landscape.
He said it's important to look at hospitality and to replicate the feeling of being welcomed into a home when designing the hotel.
Parking is currently being evaluated and Cooprider said there are two main options that have surfaced. Judging by city code, about 60 parking spaces are needed. He said right now the proposed design has room for about 20 parking places on site. Options for the remaining spaces include investigating a design to create more spots for cars within the building or working with the city to allow people to park at a nearby site.
Similarly, for the multi-family residential aspect of the project, the architects looked at the city's history, landscape and culture to determine what designs will work well.
Corey Martin, principal at Hacker Architects, said Oregon rustic elements serve as a design guideline for thinking about how to connect buildings in Lake Oswego to the history and context of the city.
Key buildings that are examples of Oregon rustic styles are Timberline Lodge, structures at Crater Lake and the Chateau at the Oregon Caves.
Oregon rustic elements include pitched roofs, asymmetrical composition and natural materials.
"We really like this idea of Lake Oswego tying its idea of a healthy and fun lifestyle to this new idea of building an apartment building so this is a new place for people to live," Martin said.
Martin added that it's a challenging sloped site, but as the hill slopes, the building's stone base would follow the contour. The proposed design repeats a simple roof form, with the upper stories clad in wood material and shingle siding. Another important component of the design is to connect the units to daylight, Martin said.
"Something we are passionate about and good at … [is] finding ways to efficiently connect daylight to the interior of these units without creating a high contrast environment," Martin said.
There will be a mix of units including studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom styles, with many flaunting an exterior patio or balcony.
"We're trying to find the right balance for the market," Martin said.
During the meeting, Zahn touched on the retail and restaurant aspect of the project but said there wasn't much to update the community about.
"It's a challenging time for both retail and restaurants so we're working hard to make sure that we right-size both of those so that they can be successful," Zahn said in an interview with the Review.
Zahn added that retail tenants typically come into play after the space is completed so UDP is setting the project up for success down the road.
"We've had a couple of conversations with a restaurant tenant but nothing definitive yet," said Zahn, adding that they're working to identify the hotel operator, though they are hoping to have Atticus Hotel be the operating partner. "We're in ongoing conversations with them about that. There's positive steps in that direction but we're not officially signed up with them yet."
Some community members expressed a concern over potential lack of parking and conflict with nearby homeowners over street parking.
Sarah Zahn, development director with UDP, said city code requires a certain number of parking stalls per hotel room, along with a requirement for retail and restaurant space.
"This is a tight site," Zahn said. "The bottom line is we will have more detail on that soon. The goal and the intent is [that] we will meet our parking requirement per zoning code."
Another question that related to parking was if the parking from the alley would be right-turn-only to reduce traffic on the main street.
Zahn said they haven't figured that out yet and will discuss the issue with the city from a traffic engineering standpoint. Zahn said both parking entrances are from the alleyway in between the buildings and it keeps cars from turning onto the main streets.
"That alley is a good distance away from the corner intersection," said Martin, adding that a traffic study will eventually be completed.
Other people questioned whether there would be a cocktail bar in the attic space of the hotel and a shared bike room in the multi-family buildings.
Zahn said they looked at having a cocktail bar in that area but debated if it was the best use of that space.
"But it's definitely intriguing and the views are going to be spectacular up there," said Zahn.
Martin said there would be a bike storage area.
Another person asked about the signage for the hotel, but there was no answer available yet, though representatives said it's an important aspect of the hotel and it won't be an afterthought.
Zahn said next steps for the project will be to launch a schematic design for both the residential and hotel aspects of the project in September, which will be followed by an early assistance meeting with city planning staff in October. The city will then have Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) negotiations with UDP in the fall as well, with a goal to have the DDA signed by mid-November. Construction is expected to start in the third quarter of 2021.
To view a recording of the meeting, click here.
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