On November 30, Mark Wilde and Brett Barton of Portland City Homes participated in a special land use meeting of the Hollywood Neighborhood Association to discuss their plans for a multifamily project with 1100 square feet of ground-floor retail at 1621 N.E. 41st Ave. – across the street from Trader Joe’s.
Construction of the proposed five-story, 27-unit apartment building – which has yet to be named – will require demolition of a 1922 single-family residence that for the past 30 years provided commercial offices for Andrew Ragland’s Hollywood Law Center. Portland City Homes purchased the property from Ragland last summer for $520,000. The site is zoned CS for storefront commercial.
“Although the Hollywood Plan District allows for a potentially larger or higher-density building, we worked hard to design something that benefited the neighborhood without having a negative impact on the surrounding community,” said Wilde, City Homes’ president.
The property falls just south of SomaSpace dance studio at the corner of Northeast Broadway and is two lots north of the recently completed Footprint Hollywood micro-studio project – which is four stories tall and doesn’t include ground-floor retail. The western edge of the property is buffeted by the back side of the A-Boy Electric & Plumbing shop and the southern border abuts another residential property, on a double lot, that has been converted to legal offices with surface parking.
The proposed Portland City Homes project will not include onsite parking for tenants and the site is a short walk to Hollywood’s MAX station.
“Part of our planning has been to assess the impact of our project on the existing community,” said Wilde. “Parking in the immediate vicinity is somewhat limited. Part of our access plan for future tenants is to provide alternative transportation options. This may include prepaid public transit options as well as monthly Uber or Lyft vouchers. We put great effort into locating a site that was part of an attractive, growing community. Access to multiple transportation options – including the MAX, regular TriMet service and high bike- and walk-scores was of great importance to our team.”
The staging of construction materials and potential impact on 41st Avenue traffic during the project is a primary concern for Hollywood neighbors – especially after facing significant challenges during construction of the Footprint apartments down the street.
“Communication is essential to us and we need to know what’s going on and when it’s going to happen,” said Maura White, executive director of the nonprofit Mother & Child Education Center, adjacent to the Footprint tower. “The project looks like a great building – it’s wonderful – but what I care about is the construction timeline and how many parking permits you get from the city during staging – which will impact access to our business. We will definitely go down to city hall and protest if you don’t keep us informed. The Footprint project was a nightmare and I swear I will not go through that again.”
Wilde and Barton promised to work proactively with the community to minimize disruptions, citing their work and reputation on other infill projects throughout the city – including the Moreland in Sellwood and two projects underway in the Woodlawn neighborhood. The Hollywood project is slated for completion in roughly two years.
“A project like this, with a concrete pedestal, usually takes about eight months. Depending on what level of design review we end up going through – and we have some tricky engineering stuff to work out – we could be a year or so from breaking ground with eight or nine months after that to completion. These infill sites can be extremely challenging and we budget for that,” said Wilde.
The bulk of the project will be market rate, but there will some affordable units.
“It’s difficult for us to project that far forward, but I’d guess that the studios will rent for around $1100 and the one bedrooms will rent for $1200 to $1400. In two years, that could be exactly the same or a little lower or maybe a little more.” said Barton, who grew up in the Roseway neighborhood and still attends church at the Mosaic in Hollywood.
“We’ll have the city’s inclusionary zoning initiative coming down the pike in February – and we are likely going to be triggered into that, so we’ll want to include at least one or two units of affordable housing in this project,” said Wilde. “I think there’s going to be some additional incentives to build affordable in the next couple of years and it’s going to start making economical sense for developers to include affordable housing in their projects. Which will be great. I think that’s where the city’s going to go and I support that.”
Design work for the project is by CIDA architecture, engineering, planning and interiors.
“We are excited to work with this outstanding community to create a beautiful building that will add character and value to this neighborhood,” said Wilde. “We look forward to the support of all the great community members that call this neighborhood home.”
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