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Block 67 Project Updates Shared by City, Developers
What kind of housing? How about parking? And what about a grocery store? City of Hillsboro Economic Development Department staff and the City's Block 67 development partners discussed project updates with community members at a recent open house.
What kind of housing? How about parking? And what about a grocery store?
More than 80 community members asked questions, shared concerns, and listened to Block 67 project updates during an open house this month at the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center in Downtown Hillsboro. The event offered updates from City of Hillsboro Economic Development Department staff and from Project^ and Holst Architecture, the City's partners on the new development.
Project^ and Holst presented a variety of their completed mixed-use projects from around the region. The examples illustrated the firms' commitment to balancing the needs of a development with the context of the neighborhoods around it.
Both the City and the developers see Block 67 as an opportunity to connect Historic Downtown with Hillsboro's Health and Education District — including Tuality Community Hospital, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, and Pacific University.
Thoughtful, Intentional Approach to Development
One of the key reasons the City chose Project^ as its partner on the Block 67 redevelopment was because the firm considers the existing character of the surrounding area in designing for a site. At the same time, Project^ brings an innovative, creative approach to development that suits the City.
Project^ aims to deliver a multifaceted development that offers housing, office space, retail, and public spaces both indoors and out. The development will create entry points throughout the block — promoting walkability and gathering spaces, and inviting in visitors and people who live and work near the site.
Larger buildings, including offices, will be concentrated on the south end of the block (on the Baseline Street side). An east-west alleyway will run through the middle of the site. The north side, closest to the neighborhood of single-family residences and MAX Light Rail, will feature smaller-scale multi-family residential structures.
The developer estimates the project will offer 269 apartments, ranging from studios to three bedrooms, at market rates. Apartment buildings are expected to be between three and six stories, and would reflect a modern interpretation of the historic area.
Informal places where people can gather is a design priority for the development team, who strive to create community-building spaces in all their developments.
Project^ envisions that some businesses, clinics, and other community organizations may want space in the office building — especially on the ground level — to serve the diverse communities of Hillsboro and Washington County. Retail spaces will be located near 7th Avenue, Baseline Street, and the east-west alley.
Paying Attention to Parking
The City and the development partners understand the community's concerns about parking, and will ensure that the site meets the code requirement of .75 parking spaces per residential unit.
To that end, the current design calls for between 200 and 280 parking stalls, including below-ground parking. Spaces along the alleyway and 6th and 7th avenues will round out the parking options.
While this development may not fully solve existing parking issues in the neighborhood, Project^ is committed to continuing to look for solutions to accommodate as many cars as possible. The developer is discussing parking with nearby health and education partners, and has a history of considering car-sharing services and supporting alternative modes of transportation in their projects.
What About a Grocery Store?
Based on community input, the City conducted a feasibility study that considered existing grocery options and the market demand in Downtown Hillsboro for a grocery store. City of Hillsboro Economic and Community Development Director Dan Dias explained that the City and Project^ reached out to retail grocers, but those companies concluded that, at this point, the market size and area income levels wouldn't support a new investment.
While that result is disappointing to many community members, Dias suggested that the Block 67 project is one way to entice those retailers in the future.
"We can continue to try to engage grocers by adding density and people, which will build the market further and increase the likelihood that a grocer will want to move into Downtown Hillsboro," Dias said.