A team of Northeast Portland neighbors has a development project in the pipeline for “missing-middle” courtyard housing on a nearly vacant site in the Cully neighborhood near Fernhill Park.
Slated for completion in summer 2019, the 19-unit apartment community, nestled in the trees above the intersection of 42nd Avenue and Lombard Street, will surround one existing home with eight two-bedroom apartments and 20 lofted, two-bedroom town homes. The units will be priced for neighbors who earn too much to qualify for subsidized affordable housing but too little to afford newer, market-rate rentals. Each unit will include an on-site parking space.
“The grounds will have a zen-garden aesthetic, a children’s play area and on-site solar to offset common-area electric use,” said project lead and Hollywood neighbor Paul Del Vecchio of Ethos Development. “It’s a true neighborhood project – and five of our six investors live in Cully, Beaumont or Hollywood. We are a bit beholden to the permitting process and future construction costs to make this a reality, but it looks like it will pencil out.”
Beaumont neighbor Terry Amundson of Koble Creative is designing the project. Amundson served as project architect and designer on the Beaumont Village Lofts at Northeast 50th and Fremont.
“When Paul and I first discussed the design approach to Fernhill we looked at the work that Mark Lakeman and Eli Spevak did at Cully Grove,” said Amundson. “That’s a great project and a nice philosophy for creating community and local identity. We walked the Fernhill site after Cully Grove, and looked over the various strengths of the property, which included the view to the north, the elevation above the adjacent highway, and the site’s proximity to an extensive, established residential community. The site configuration is a natural solution to the various impacts and constraints of the property. Locating the parking to the north and at a lower elevation than the residential units allowed for a buffer from the highway and railroad, while also allowing for the residences to be sited to take advantage of the elevation and potential views to the north.”
An additional goal of the layout was to locate the residences so that they’ll mesh with adjacent properties and continue an established pattern of development – while allowing for potential, future development to the south.
“Developing a residential community around a central, outdoor circulation hub on the higher portion of the site allowed for simple vehicle and pedestrian pathways through the site with minimal impact and provided an opportunity to locate the parking on the northern, lower elevation – out of sight of the homes and adjacent to the main highway,” said Amundson.
“We all liked the idea of a doing some medium-income housing for the neighborhood on this plot of land that wasn’t being used,” said neighborhood realtor Rambo Halpern, one of the project’s investors. “It’s a great use of the land and it fills a crying need for some nice, well-constructed housing that will be priced lower than what you’d find on Williams, or Mississippi or the Pearl. Our close-in neighborhoods need more housing stock like this if we’re going to sustain Portland’s reputation as a walkable and livable city.”
For more information, visit www.ethosdevelopmentllc.com.