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Holst Architecture proposes mixed-use plans for parking lot near Lloyd Center

The Lloyd Center IMAX theater’s large parking lot, east of Holladay Park, will likely be seeing a new development going up next year.


On June 30, Portland’s Design Commission is scheduled to review development plans for 1400 N.E. Multnomah St. after three nonbinding design advice hearings that began in Spring 2015.

Plans include two six-story, mixed-use buildings providing 677 market-rate apartments, 12 live-work units and more than 37,000 square feet of retail space on the parking lot only, and do not include the cinema building site. The buildings are organized around a diagonal pedestrian plaza extending from the southwest to the northeast corners of the site.

According to Holst Architecture principal Dave Otte, the project has been in the works for over a year, its design is currently being finalized and he and his team plan to apply for building permits later this summer.

HOLST ARCHITECTURE - Rather than a large building with a relatively flat wall, Otte's team designed interesting angles continuously jogging in and out with the geometry of the buildings.

Linking pedestrians

“It’s centered around one big idea: linking Sullivan’s Gulch neighborhood to the Lloyd District,” Otte said. “The site overlaps both neighborhoods — it’s literally in both neighborhood associations.”

The lot, currently surface parking approximately the size of four city blocks, backs up to the max line along Northeast Holladay Street and has a steep grade change down to Northeast 16th Drive.

“Rather than overlaying the 200x200 Portland block structure over the site, we instead have taken specific context and responded by linking a major diagonal pedestrian promenade from the southwest corner to the northeast corner through the site that matches the historic traffic patterns,” Otte said.

Under design advice requests, the Design Commission showed support of the pedestrian path designs.

No public streets will route through the development, only private drives and pedestrian and cycling paths, some underneath the buildings, leading to plazas with retail and restaurant space.

“We don’t have any specific tenants lined up yet, but we are envisioning specific types of tenants — we’re designing corners for restaurant uses,” Otte said. “We recognize that the Lloyd District could use more restaurants and hoping we could be a food destination.”

HOLST - Aerial images show the parking lot and its current diagonal pedestrian path.

Interactive street level code

“There’s a sidewalk there now that traces the same path we’re going to use as an organizing element through the whole site, but with a very grand pedestrian promenade open to bikes and pedestrians with decks and fountains and art that connects to restaurants and retail — a very lively pedestrian experience through there,” Otte said.

The Lloyd District’s superblocks, common in the area, fall under Portland Zoning Code requiring new walkways for new developments. The southern end of the site is blocked by the steep grade, MAX tracks and I-84.

The code requirements are the reason why there’s already a diagonal pedestrian pathway through the parking lot, and one reason why Holst architects chose to play it up and design beautiful walkways along interactive retail and restaurants beneath five floors of residential balconies, giving the walkway a European feel.

Another reason for beautifying the paths is the surrounding community: being in two neighborhoods, the architects planned the development’s paths to connect Sullivan’s Gulch to the Lloyd Center.

Two neighborhoods

According to Otte, he and his team have been in close contact with both neighborhood associations, which have shown broad support.

“So far, so good with the community and what we’re trying to achieve: people are excited to see a parking lot turn into active uses and housing that we so desperately need,” Otte said. “We’ll be replacing four acres of surface parking with close to 700 units of housing that we desperately need in the city, along with about 40,000 square feet of active retail space.”

He said plans include a dozen live-work units on the ground floor along with loft-style units with large roll-up doors and tall spaces below conventional apartments.

“One of the unique things is it’s a building size that we don’t see much of in Portland because of the size of our blocks,” Otte said. “The way we’re articulating the building with continuously changing geometry, we’re trying to create a very lively facade that is more than just a facade treatment — it’s changing the volume and massing of the building to break down the scale to be more suitable to the pedestrian realm.”

HOLST ARCHITECTURE - The architects plans show how the path will meander between the residential buildings, coming across retail and restaurants.

Design details

As for cars, the current surface lot has about 620 parking spots. The Holst proposal includes plans for 500 parking spaces, with about 100 of them for retail use and the rest reserved for residents. There are also plans for 1,000 bike parking spots in total.

“There are three major bike rooms on the ground floor, very easy to access,” Otte said. “Then, we have more bike parking in the parking garages and spread aroud the site.”

Otte said Holst’s plans include two parking structures wrapped inside the buildings by the active use, and the only place pedestrians will see the parking is at the garage doors.

The primary facade material is proposed to be oko skin, a fiber-reinforced cement panel with a wood-plank look.

“Oko comes in beautiful colors from light to dark. We’re using five different colors, each color comes in three textures, so we get about 15 different types of board that will gradient from light to dark and back to light across the buildings,” Otte said. “We were looking for ways to create visual interest for the buildings, something subtle but not applied, something inherent to the material.”

So far, the design commission has requested modifications to the ground floor windows.

Holst aims to have permits in hand by early 2017 and break ground that winter, with a 2018 completion date.

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