Some new details have emerged from Kevin Cavenaugh’s Dumbbell project on the tiny Burnside-Couch-MLK bound island on Portland’s Eastside. As discussed before, this project is by far the most fascinating of all the new construction proposals at the Burnside Bridgehead with its bright wallpaper-esque facade, cantilevered walls, and unusual bisected mass. The location is highly visible, but the site constraints are incredibly limiting with the Streetcar, the couplet merge, and the bridge structure completely encasing it with access restrictions. One of the biggest constraint issues appears to be the duality of having to provide driveways for parking access and the law-required loading space where no access can legally be granted. In response to these issues the developer has proposed eliminating the loading space altogether and having parking access coming in and out of the currently forbidden Burnside approach side. A few minor alterations to the existing roadway and sidewalk would be needed, but the alternatives would put a driveway behind the Streetcar stop and reduce the amount of prime retail spaces on MLK. The city would prefer their Streetcar investment succeed in its urbanist goals and the city cannot completely restrict access to the property, so I doubt these hurdles will be hard to overcome with a few tweaks here and there.
The newest program consists of 42,250 sq. ft. of new flex-office space, 2,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail, and 26 at grade parking spaces. Apparently the challenges of the site and economics have altered the scheme from the originally planned 36,000 sq. ft. of offices, 6,000 sq. ft. of retail, and 24 underground parking. The seemingly plentiful retail frontages seen in the newest renderings are apparently alarmingly skinny on the interior or dummy storefronts to appease the ground floor window requirements. Concerns from the city may push Guerrilla Development to further change the ground floor design, especially since most of the details are preliminary at this stage. The facade of randomized windows and artistic panels has remained the same, as well as the interesting choice of outdoor elevator and stairwell core sandwiched between the two buildings.
Newer details have also surfaced for the Lower Burnside Lofts project further to the East on Ankeny Street. The proposal appears to be construction ready with the overall design approved by the city and the details and finishes finalized. The city previously had issues with the proposed street frontage window placements, oriel window intrusions into the public ROW, and substandard parking stall sizes, but all of these problems have been satisfactorily addressed. This building will add to the livelihood of the area, and is yet another Eastside project preferring bicycle parking over auto (40 spaces versus 17).