The southeast corner of Montavilla will gain an impressive 12 unit apartment building offering a wide range of different sized residences, with some onsite parking. Located at 2444 SE 90th Ave, the project has affordability and housing diversity at its core. This development aims to bridge the gap between the working class homes around it and the urbanized nature of nearby SE Division.
The development will transform an overgrown patch of land, positioned one parcel back from SE Division Street. The lot has remained empty after the 2009 demolition of both a single-family residence and a detached garage. This portion of SE 90th is an older paved road without sidewalks. Most of the surrounding properties are single-family residences “built during 1925-1971. The architecture of each building is compact and affordable.” Said Kym Nguyen of Concept Design & Associates, the project’s Design Manager.
Nguyen worked to incorporate the functional design of the surrounding buildings into this new three-story apartment building. Many of the design elements chosen will complement the other buildings on the street while incorporating contemporary style. Each apartment offers an open floor-plan desired by modern-day residents. Traditional siding is used in vertical bands to break up the massing on the building’s streetside. The build uses a conventional roofline featuring modest eaves, similar to neighboring properties.
The project’s owner instructed Nguyen to create a complex that attracted the most comprehensive range of renters. Including older adults, families, single people, and couples. Mixing the unit types between studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom options will help attract a diverse renter. However, greater diversity comes through offering units on the ground floor, making space available to residents needing special mobility consideration. Support for a variety of transportation needs further increases renter diversity.
The building will offer six garages for residents needing secure parking. PBOT required 17 feet of dedication along SE 90th Ave to accommodate new sidewalks and street parking, adding more parking options for residents. The location is also near both a MAX station and bus lines, providing fast transit downtown. The onsite parking makes a peace offering to the surrounding homeowners who may fear parking congestion. However, this project will encourage mass transit for a portion of residents and help meet the cities environmental goals.
Nguyen explained all phases of the property include resident income considerations. “Affordability is the key for this project, so people are able to afford to buy [them] when these units [convert] to Condos from apartments.” The owner of this property plans to use the rental income from this building for his retirement. However, Nguyen designed them to convert into condominium units eventually. This affordability lifecycle will start with renters and then grow into ownership, perhaps with some of the same residents making the transition with the building.
This project could signal a subtle change in how density housing comes to market. Opening as an inclusive apartment building and then transforming into a condominium may become a successful Portland development path. It can retain the nearby community’s tradition of attainable ownership while first alleviating a housing shortage. Buildings that include some parking are better able to transition from apartment to condominium as many realtors struggle to list properties without a garage.
This is a project to pay attention to over the coming years. Its success could become a model to emulate. They have made many choices through parking, design, and floor plan variety that should meet their longterm goals. Regardless of this project’s future successes as a condominium, it will offer ample housing options now, when Portland needs it most.
Rendering provided by Concept Design & Associates