Hyatt Place design approved
Controversial plans to build a 250 condo/Hyatt hotel tower on a quarter of a block in the Pearl District have been approved again by Portland's Design Commission. After a 4-0 vote by the commission last Thursday Nov. 19, the City will now hold a hearing and vote on the Hyatt Place Hotel project on Jan. 14, 2021.
Locals in a group called Pearl Neighbors for Integrity in Design have opposed the project. PNID's mission is "protecting and enhancing the livability of the Pearl District by promoting good architectural development". https://www.pearlneighbors.org/ They say the building is too tall, eats up too much sidewalk. The hotel drop off zone was moved from Northwest Flanders to 100 linear feet on Northwest 12th. This will have to accommodate all pick-up and drop-off for the vehicles and the 175 housed bicycles on the mezzanine of the Hyatt Place building, plus all of the food deliveries, UPS deliveries, Amazon deliveries for 271 units. That is, 160 hotel rooms and event rooms and 111 studio and one bedroom apartments.
The group maintains that this intensity of use does not have adequate ingress and egress through four elevators onto 100 linear feet of sidewalk and onto NW 12th Ave.
PNID spokesperson Patricia Cliff criticized the design as dangerous in the age of COVID-19. "The intensity of use of the proposed development makes it a 'super-spreader architectural design' when the rest of the urban planners and architectural firms internationally are adapting to the 'new normal', in anticipation of possible subsequent potential viral pandemics. Portland developers used to pride themselves on being ahead in cutting edge design, which the Hyatt Place is not."
Since 2018, building code allows for buildings up to 250 feet in this neighborhood, the same height as the proposed Hyatt Tower. The building would be 11 stories of apartments and 11 stories of Hyatt Hotel rooms.
In September Commissioner Amanda Fritz wrote in favor of denying the design review approval. Fritz said that the design neither reflected the local style of warehouse buildings, nor diversified the architectural language of the area, according to the River District Guidelines.
"It is a building that could go anywhere without Design Guidelines. Lots of glass may diversify the palette of materials in the district, but in a way which is untrue to the Pearl District character and identity."
The architect company is OTAK. Sunray of Madison, Mississippi, is the co-developer with Vibrant City (which used to be known as Solterra).
Pearl Neighbors for Integrity in Design is not connected to the official Pearl District Neighborhood Association. The PDNA also weighs in on design issues but it more business focused and generally accepts that bigger commercial buildings are coming to the district with the new height allowance. PNID is expected to go to the state land Use Board of Appeals if the City approves the current design.
Plans for the Pearl
Pearl Neighbors for Integrity in Design
Pearl District Neighborhood Association
Story updated on Dec 7 with comments from PNID and corrected sate for Council hearing.
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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