What was once the paragon of the Portland Development Commission’s failures, the Burnside Bridgehead is finally coming to fruition. Block 75, a ten-story mix of apartments, commercial, and retail spaces bound by NE Couch, MLK, and 3rd Avenue will soon rise next to the old Union Arms Apartments. The half-block project is pulled away from the apartments next door to make room for a through-block pedestrian alley where two of the building’s five ground-floor retail spaces front.
The setback also allows the building to have a partially transparent northern facade instead of a solid party wall, creating more views from within while simultaneously providing a more interesting urban presence from afar. The building will house all of its parking underground with an entrance ramp adjacent to the building’s perimeter along 3rd Avenue. The air-rights over the parking ramp and the remaining quarter-block site are then land-banked for a future second phase of development.
The East-West ‘stacked tube’ facade looks to be visually compelling from most angles, giving the mid-rise building a definitive presence on the Eastside. Work should begin soon on both of this project’s soon-to-be neighbors, which will drastically change the current no-man’s land into what could be the de facto center for the Central Eastside.