Currently under design review, Hoyt Street Properties is proposing to build a new 28-story condominium building named North Point Tower in the Northern part of the Pearl between NW Overton and Northrup streets. Designed by Boora Architects, the tower is poised to become the tallest building in the Pearl District at 350′. Arguably Hoyt Street’s most valuable undeveloped block, the site is located on the block directly between the almost completed Fields Park and the quiet oasis of Tanner Springs Park. Currently it is a fenced-off illegal parking lot which garnered some unwanted attention a while back. The tower portion of the development is to be located at the Southwest corner of the site with a two-to-four story podium built to the street edges. The roofs of the podium are proposed to be covered in a courtyard-style green roof, which could be quite an amenity to the condo owners. Hoyt Street is looking for an increase in allowable building height from 225′ to 350′, which they argue will only create as much of a shadow on Fields Park as a traditional full block-length building at the current height limitation due to the tower’s skinny footprint.
The ground floor plan looks promising, as the developers are asking for the ability to build an extension of the Boardwalk down NW Northrup as well as continuing the linear path up 10th Avenue toward the Fields Park. This is definitely a departure from the original intentions of the Boardwalk, but the original intent has already been compromised with the budgetary axe given to the bridge to the river portion of the wooden walkway. The ‘split’ of the Boardwalk could also be a boon to the streetscape as it could help draw pedestrians down the already retail and Streetcar oriented Northrup street. Both sides with the Boardwalk are proposed to have small retail spaces, and dual lobbies are designated at opposite corners. The North side facing NW Overton are proposed as live/ work units which are a welcome addition to the area with their inherent flexibility over time and changing needs. The NW 11th Avenue facade at street level is less pedestrian friendly as it is proposed to contain the loading dock and parking entrance. There will be ample bike parking on the ground floor as well.
In general, I find the proposal most welcome. I think the Pearl could use a bit more variety in building height, and the 350′ mark is keeping within Portland’s current city design standards with the South Waterfront and the Lloyd District also having a 350′ limitation. The streetscape is very active with multiple uses, and the Boardwalk proposal gives some East-West linkage to the North-South orientation of the Pearl’s park system. The tower portion looks to have an angled East facade which is a nice departure from the standard square or rectangular shapes found in the neighboring buildings. The angled side not only provides added views for tenants, but also looks to continue the juxtaposition of the ever-so-slightly deconstructivist Park Place Condominiums and refined Modernist form of the Metropolitan Tower to the South. The only downfall to the proposal, which realistically will happen with any design, is the lost openness and view from Tanner Springs Park to the overarching Fremont Bridge. Once the trees of the park reach maturity however, Tanner Springs Park will most likely be better off as the secluded park, differentiating itself from the activity rich Jamison Square and the purposely open design of Fields Park.