By: Hilary Dorsey//September 12, 2023//
Beaverton affordable housing project on track
Construction of a four-story, 81-unit affordable housing development in Beaverton is on track to start in summer 2024 if funding is fully secured. (Salazar Architect)
By: Hilary Dorsey//September 12, 2023//
New affordable housing is in the works for the Elmonica area in Beaverton. A four-story, 93,000-square-foot, 81-unit apartment building is planned.
The site is at 17030 W. Baseline Road. It’s in the Five Oaks/Triple Creek neighborhood near the Elmonica/SW 170th Ave MAX light rail station.
The project, currently called Elmonica, received the Beaverton Planning Commission’s approval last month. The project is in early design.
The development’s name will likely be selected during the construction phase, said Eric Jacobson, housing development project manager at REACH Community Development.
“We will involve some of our community partners in that,” he said.
The property is owned by Metro. In addition to developer REACH Community Development, the project team includes architect Salazar Architect, general contractor Colas Construction, civil engineer Humber Design Group, landscape architect PLACE, and Bienestar, a Latinx affordable housing provider that will provide bilingual services to residents and help potential residents apply for housing.
The L-shaped building will include 24 studios, 24 one-bedroom units, 18 two-bedroom units, and 15 three-bedroom units. There will be one manager’s unit as well. Some studios will be near the three-bedroom units to provide multigenerational living opportunities. The ground floor will hold the manager’s office, common areas for residents, and programming space for REACH’s partners.
Approximately 33 units will be for people earning up to 30 percent of area median income and 47 will be for people earning up to 60 percent of AMI.
Salazar Architect’s design primarily calls for use of fiber cement siding with a variety of different textures.
“We have one finer texture at the street level and then, for the three stories above, the building conceptually is broken down into two different volumes that we refer to as the river volume and the oak grove,” Salazar Architect designer Christina Kwiecienski said.
The river volume will have an artistic differentiation of texture and colored panels that flow like the concept of river topography, and the oak grove volume will have a finer texture with an angled parapet suggestive of a tree canopy.
There will be two plazas: one in front of the building and another on the backside, adjacent to an indoor community room. The front plaza is intended to welcome people to the building, while the back plaza is intended to be a quiet place for reflection. There will also be a play structure and community garden space.
A culturally inclusive approach was used for the project. The team formed a policy advisory group of representatives from service organizations and REACH members to engage with potential residents as well as offer advice and guidance on project decisions.
“One of the goals of this project was to reach out to (the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community early and try to incorporate some design elements or other features that would be specifically inclusive to (make) BIPOC folks feel welcome,” Jacobson said.
For instance, there will be two community rooms (one for residents and another for neighborhood groups), laundry rooms on all residential floors, and a multipurpose room able to accommodate children.
Salazar Architect worked with organizations to identify different communities’ needs. For instance, after working with a group of Somalis and learning of their need for enclosed kitchens, the firm designed some two- and three-bedroom apartments with open kitchens but others with enclosed kitchens.
The design team also received feedback from Community Vision about the need for more drawer storage in kitchens and fixtures that are more easily accessible for people with disabilities. Salazar Architect worked with Bienestar on the design of the community spaces, which will include a food pantry and a large community room able to accommodate events.
The total project cost is $50 million. The project is currently 90 percent funded and REACH is identifying the remainder. The team has secured Metro affordable housing bond dollars, a Metro Transit-Oriented Development grant, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity via Oregon Housing and Community Services, money from the city of Beaverton, and eight project-based vouchers.
“We would be eligible for about $21 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity,” Jacobson said. “That would come from an outside investor that we haven’t yet gone through the process of identifying.”
The project also qualifies for a $5 million bank loan, he said.
Approximately two or three months before project completion, REACH will begin accepting applications from potential residents.
Construction could begin in July or August 2024 if funding is secured. The building would then likely open in January 2026.
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