Guerrilla Development is continuing its tradition of unorthodox projects with a new proposal for NE 28th and Sandy, a single-story retail storefront building on an odd triangular lot to be called “The Zipper.” This project, as with Guerrilla’s other projects like The Ocean, The Rocket, and The Fair Haired Dumbbell(vimeo), aims to build on a difficult site by creating something unique and different. Located on an old car dealership, the quarter-ish block is located on the highly visible corner of NE 28th, the retail and restaurant mecca, and the fantastically diagonal Sandy Boulevard. 28th Avenue is a major connector with one of the only freeway overpasses to the North that has decent bicycle amenities, and is an Eastside destination to the South with everything from the bars over on Stark, to Whole Foods and the Laurelurst Theater around Burnside, and the plethora of restaurants and boutiques along the whole stretch from Bamboo to Pambiche. Sandy Boulevard is not only a major thoroughfare from the city to the airport, it is also a psychological connector for Portlanders as the only angled street that bisects Northeast, a lesser ‘Grand Boulevard’ of Paris or Barcelona fame.
The Zipper looks to incorporate a zigzagging wood rainscreen in front of a ‘zipper’ pattern of windows along most of its facade. The back, North side, of the building will have a small outdoor courtyard area, reminiscent of The Ocean, that the building opens up to with a set of three garage doors. The proposal looks to include some covered bicycle parking at the corner of the exposed courtyard, and limits automobile parking to the existing street spots. Overall the design looks intriguing, and is poised to become a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Sandy Boulevard is destined to be one of Portland’s great streets, it’s only a matter of time. The street has an existing mix of classic retail and easily redevelopable lots, and the city has designated the street from Burnside to Hollywood as a high-priority for streetcar expansion. The grand boulevard will not transform overnight, it will take adventurous catalysts like The Zipper to kick-start Sandy into its true potential.