A new 9-story office tower is proposed on one of the last undeveloped parcels in the ‘old’ part of the Pearl District. The Pearl West Office Building looks to rise on the half block lot facing NW Irving Street between 14th and 15th, a property currently being underutilized as a surface parking lot. The scheme consists of 167,000 sq. ft. of offices and street level retail on top of a 3-story underground parking garage holding 153 spaces. The designers looked to compliment the existing urban fabric of century-old masonry warehouses with a dark brick facade perforated by evenly-spaced square window bays that feature oversized piers and spandrels reminiscent of traditional building techniques. The first three floors are designed to align with the neighboring historic building’s window lines and parapet, creating a smooth transition across the block. The remaining facade is proposed to change in pier and floor width as the building rises, slowly transitioning from thicker to thinner wythes of brick veneer giving the overall mass a sense of lightness toward the top and heaviness at the base. The final design is still being formulated, but more details should emerge soon.
Although the location is tucked away along NW 14th, the project site is very visible from I-405 and should have little trouble finding office tenants, especially with the amenities offered. Along with the ample underground parking and ground-floor retail spaces, the building is also looking to make a positive impact in the surrounding landscape. The vacated section of NW Irving is currently jointly owned by the property owners that face the private street, and this new proposal looks to add an auto turn-around and drop off to the existing pedestrian only space. I’m usually opposed to such actions, but the relatively new pedestrian street is almost always empty and devoid of street life. The loud and noxious I-405 freeway resides directly to the West which creates a rather unfriendly environment for most active uses, especially since the opposite side’s perpendicular 14th Avenue is currently configured as a speed inducing one-way. Regardless, the vacated ROW will remain open air, and the development team is providing multiple options for their proposed street improvements. I look forward to seeing how this project progresses.