Beaumont Wilshire neighbors Nick Leritz and Risa Boyer Leritz will soon be breaking ground on a mixed-use project in the Cully neighborhood called Makers Row. Near the corner of Northeast 42nd and Prescott, the 10,700-square-foot “flag” lot at 4524 and 4530 N.E. 42nd Ave. is just north of the Caribbean Spice shop and extends behind the D.S. Yadav, CPA accounting offices.
Makers Row will be the couple’s first project as a developer. They have lived in the neighborhood for eight years and plan to retain ownership of the property when the building is completed. They are regulars at NEPO 42 and Motivasi and often stop at Roses Ice Cream after their child’s soccer games at Fernhill Park.
“We love the neighborhood and ensuring that we have good integration with our community has been at the top of our priority list from the start,” said Boyer Leritz. “We were inspired by the creative energy in the neighborhood and impressed by the concentrated amount of ‘makers’ in the area – ranging from wood working to urban farming. That’s how we came up with the name ‘Makers Row.’ It’s something that we love about Portland and 42nd Ave. seems to be a real hub for craftspeople.”
Leritz has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and is a senior product manager with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. He has a background in efficient, energy-systems development. Boyer Leritz is principal at Risa Boyer Architecture – a full-service architecture firm that specializes in sustainable, modern design – and has a degree in architecture from the California College of the Arts. Local contractor B&G Builders has been selected as general contractor for the project. B&G is known in the neighborhood for their work on the Hollywood Park condominiums, Daybreak Cohousing and the DCA Building on Alberta.
The completed 19,000-square foot project will feature 19 units of housing and is permitted for one or two spaces of ground-floor retail. The most-likely tenant could be a restaurant that would take both spaces. The retail frontage will be on 42nd Avenue, adjacent to the Caribbean Spice shop. The project will require the demolition of an existing home at 4524 N.E. 42nd Ave. and a run-down, industrial building to the rear of the property. The Yadav and Caribbean Spice buildings will remain untouched. An early timeline had demolition slated to begin in late May with construction underway in June.
The couple will draw from their experience in sustainable architecture and energy-systems development to make the project both complementary to the neighborhood and as green as possible.
“We are leveraging my experience in energy efficiency, as a credentialed LEED AP, to influence the design and performance of the building,” said Leritz. “We are targeting energy performance that will be 30% above current building code and are working with Energy Trust of Oregon to reach that goal. We are specifying increased air-tightness and building-envelope efficiency, energy-recovering ventilators, LED lighting, ductless heat pumps, roof-mounted solar, Energy Star appliances, low-flow fixtures, plenty of bike parking and native landscaping.”
The Makers Row team is also drawing up a Community Benefits Agreement that will outline their hopes for the project and their commitment to the community.
“We started talking to Michael DeMarco at Our 42nd Ave. before we purchased the property” said Leritz. “Michael has been great to work with and has connected us with helpful resources. We were especially interested in including affordable housing, but were disappointed to learn that existing programs essentially discourage private parties from developing affordable housing. We settled on a community benefits agreement with Our 42nd Ave. as the best way to ensure our project would be a benefit to the community. The agreement has not been finalized but some ideas we are exploring are ways that we can exercise a commercial tenant cooperation agreement and give priority to businesses owned by community members, businesses that are structurally or economically challenged or businesses that have been requested by the community.”