Lake Oswego City Council remains interested in hotel for North Anchor
After developer Vanessa Sturgeon pulled out of an effort to build a hotel at the North Anchor property in August, it was back to the drawing board for the City.
During the Oct. 1 meeting the Lake Oswego City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency Board (LORA), provided a more firm direction for the future of the North Anchor project, which will now require a portion of the property to be developed into a boutique hotel.
The North Anchor project dates back to 2004, when the city updated its East End Redevelopment Plan. The idea was to bring in a mixed-use development that included a public library, public parking and retail space, which would provide a "North Anchor" to the "South Anchor" of the downtown area that now includes the Lake View Village shopping center, Millennium Plaza Park and The Windward.
In 2012, voters rejected a bond proposal that would have re-sited the library at the North Anchor property, which is when the City decided to pursue a mixed-use development without a library.
In 2015, the City began working with Sturgeon, a local developer, who planned to fill the vacant land near First Street and B Avenue with a new luxury hotel, a restaurant and meeting rooms on the main level, including an above ground parking structure wrapped with retail on the far west end across First Street adjacent to the building.
But after four years of back-and-forth negotiations with the City, Sturgeon pulled her proposal this past August, citing the council's lack of unanimity in support of the project as the reason she couldn't secure the necessary funding.
At Tuesday's meeting, the City confirmed that the current project objectives — retail vibrancy, mix of uses, design excellence, community support and return on public investment — will remain the same.
The City also decided to fast track the solicitation for development proposals and move forward with a Request for Proposal (RFP) from developers, leaving specific requirements for the development flexible aside from the requirement of a small hotel.
Members of the Haladay family, who are working on the development of an event space called Ironlight at the new Beacon building near the North Anchor project site, spoke at the meeting saying that the development of a hotel would complement their business as long as the idea of having meeting spaces in the hotel didn't compete with their event space.
"It's been clear to me in the last six or seven years that people wanted a boutique hotel. We wanted one at the Windward and couldn't get it; we wanted one here, that's why we went with Sturgeon Development," Mayor Kent Studebaker said. "It makes a lot of sense to me that we proceed in that direction."
Councilor Theresa Kohlhoff agreed that there is a lot of community interest in the hotel but said it would still be a good location to host affordable housing.
The City Council decided to not limit the type of housing for the project. While housing, meeting space and commercial and retail space that would complement other Lake Oswego businesses are all allowed, the City wants to be flexible and see what the developers have in mind in their proposals.
Studebaker said the type of retail space is up in the air and that it most likely won't fill the entire first floor — like Lakeview Village and the Windward — because some brick and mortar businesses are difficult to attract.
The City does not want vacant storefronts on the main level.
Developers will also need to consider parking that will be needed for the hotel and businesses under the City's code.
"We will see what works," Studebaker said.
A sample schedule that was proposed for the project had tight deadlines that some councilors deemed difficult to meet because of the upcoming holiday season. The schedule included a proposal deadline of Jan. 6, 2020, which will most likely be slightly pushed back to give developers flexibility for submittal.
Councilor Daniel Nguyen also proposed the schedule include a pre-bid meeting to allow for more community outreach since "it's been a while."
"So those that are interested can come to the pre-bid meeting (and understand) this is the site, this is what we are working on, give them a history of what has worked in the past, what hasn't worked in the past," Nguyen said.
The next step on the proposed schedule would be to have the council, acting as LORA, to review draft solicitation for the developers Nov. 5.
Council approves improvements
for Jean/Pilkington Road
Also during Tuesday's meeting, the council awarded a contract to Century West Engineering Corporation in the amount of $367,203.26 for the design of the Jean/Pilkington Road intersection improvements.
The two designs that were presented to the Council Tuesday evening were the implementation of a traffic signal or a roundabout to address vehicular queuing and to help make the intersection more safe.
In an estimated schedule, the construction contract would be awarded in October 2020 after the design is complete and construction would be expected to take about six months and be completed by May 2021.
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