Two-building project set for 4th Street and Beech Avenue near Gresham Arts Plaza.

COURTESY RENDERING - A computer rendering shows families ambling along Beech Avenue, a green street with bulb-out curb extensions that leads to the Gresham Arts Plaza. Seven "urban style" townhomes in two buildings have been approved for construction a half block from the Gresham Arts Plaza.

Just more than 14,500 square feet of enclosed space is planned for this three-story project located on the corner of Northeast Fourth Street and Beech Avenue.

"Three blocks to the MAX train — two blocks to cross Powell and then you're into Main City Park with all its amenities, and downtown with coffee shops and restaurants," noted developer Harry Henke. "It doesn't get much better for this kind of residential application."

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - The intersection of 4th Street and Beech Avenue on Thursday, Jan. 25 in Gresham."I feel there's more demand for this type of product than what currently exists," Henke added during a Gresham Design Commission meeting Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Blueprints show five units, each roughly 1,400 square feet in size with a one-car garage, located in the first building facing Beech.

The second building contains two units, one of which offers 3,200 square feet of space and room for an extra car in the garage.

Gresham's Design Commission authorized the project unanimously after allowing for compact balconies and a shared "rain garden," two features that will be slightly smaller than the standard prescribed in city code.

Builders also praised the upgrades to Beech, a "green street" designated to meander traffic and entice cyclists. City planners added semi-circle curb extensions known as bulb-outs in 2008.

"I can certainly see families sitting out on their porches in the evening, watching the kids bicycle up and down the sidewalk along this area," commented architect Tom Johnson.

Eleven trees will be cut down in the vacant lot, which is considered a transitional site between commercial and residential uses.

COURTESY RENDERING - The three-story development depicted here consists of seven townhomes split between two buildings.

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