So how did the night go? I think it went pretty good actually. Kent, Mark, and I were there to represent and we got right to the point with our questions. First, we made sure that we each logged a comment on the boards, basically saying that they should be aware of the park and what impact the development will have on it. Then we started making the rounds.
The first developer I spoke to was Opus NW. This is the design that featured a Lowes sign on the render of the project. In all of the pictures and models they were showing, the area the park was basically turned into a cave. Imagine the park with the entire north side walled in from the bridge down. I do have to admit that upon closer inspection of the renders, there was an alley of sorts along the north end of the park, south side of the project. The person I spoke to said he understood where I was coming from and that there is plenty of time to work out any problems. Which is true, this is still one of the early stages of the game. Once a developer is picked in early January, then the real work begins.
We then went to the Gerding/Edlen Development area. This is the design that features a Home Depot in their plans. I felt pretty good talking to these guys and felt like what I was saying was getting through. What helped this feeling is that the guy I was talking to was taking notes on what my concerns were. This design is actually the only one that is set back from the bridge and the skatepark. I mentioned transitioning the skatepark, as it is now, out towards the new development to give the park a more open feel and he really liked the idea. I know it doesn't mean a whole lot right now, but it gives me the feeling that at least the developers/architects are willing to work with us and are receptive to our ideas. We'll see.
Next, we wandered over to the Beam Development area. We spoke to Peter Stark for a little while and met a few others that are members of the CEIC. One thing you may notice from this post and the previous, is that I didn't really have concerns concerning the skatepark with their designs. This design is very friendly to the park and so are those on the development team. If Beam Development were to win the contract, I believe we would be well taken care of. Of course that doesn't mean we'll sit back and take what's given to us. We would still be actively pursue all of the needs the park will face with any development that takes place.
Later in the evening I noticed that the head of the Opus NW team was available so Kent and I walked over to speak to him. Kent and I talked to him for the better part of 20 minutes and he was pretty receptive to our ideas. He said that he would like to see the park actually highlighted as an asset to the area. He was suggesting that maybe there could be stairs coming down from the bridge and mid-way down having some sort of viewing platform. He even was suggesting some sort of cafe or coffee place. I think that's taking it a bit far, but it does give us the impression that we may be able to really take the park to a new level.
There will be at least one, maybe two, more public comment sessions before all is said and done. Of course we will be there continuing to advocate for the park and look forward to finally sitting down with the developer that is selected.
That's it. Go skate!
The first proposal was the Home Depot proposal by Gerding/Edlen Development. It would be built in 2 phases, with the 1st phase being between 2nd and 3rd Ave. and housing Home Depot. 2nd Ave. would be the loading access road for the store. Parking would be inside the building. The design doesn't connect to the bridge and there seems to be a bit of space between the bridge and the building. I'm not sure what would be along the south wall, facing the park, but it may just be the face of the building. If that is the case, we may be able to extend the park towards the building as a transition from main park down to street level. I spoke to the developer during the open house and asked how his design is sensitive to the skatepark. He said that they are very aware of the skatepark and its significance to the area and would not jeopardize it in any way.
The second proposal was by Opus NW. It is the one that featured Lowes in the photo. Come to find out, they only used that sign to show what it could look like; they have no commitment from anyone concerning the space. This design would have the biggest impact on the skatepark due to the fact that the main entrance to the large retail space is on 2nd Ave. They would also build to right to the edge of the bridge from top to bottom. It would not be good. I went and spoke to the architect, I think, during the open house and asked how the design was sensitive to the park. He really didn't have an answer other than acknowledging its existence. As I was explaining to him that the design would basically be creating a cave where the park is. Another guy walked up and began agreeing with me. He then introduced himself as someone involved in adding a couple of floors to the RJ Templeton building. Anyhow, I told the architect that, to me, it doesn't look like they were sensitive to the park and that I look forward to bringing it up at the public workshop next Monday. I moved on.
Beam Development presented the final proposal. They were the only presentation to receive not one, but two rounds of applause for their design. It is a very experimental design in that the buildings will be an artistic hub of sorts. They already have letters of commitment for 65% of their commercial space and have even secured a Chinese company to move their headquarters to one of the buildings. Of course, it goes without saying, this design is the most skatepark friendly. One of the things about this proposal that made it unique is that there are multiple architects, developers, and contractors involved. This was the most community centric design of them all. It also had no big box retailer to anchor the project. It is a very bold vision.
There will be a public forum tonight to let the developers know our concerns or what not. Burnside will be well represented by active members of the local skatepark advocacy community and Burnside Skatepark, Inc.(A.K.A. Skaters for Burnside Skatepark). I will give an update to the outcome of the meeting and how we think it went.
That's it. Go skate!