Gone are the sloping terraces covered with cascading greenery. Absent now are the living walls facing I-5 from a bluff on Pine. What was platinum will now be gold. Esker is gone, and something new is being proposed to replace it.
The seven-story sustainably designed Esker was to be Portland-based SolTerra’s second green project in Capitol Hill, and had received high marks when it went before the East Design Review Board last June.
“Esker is basically a terracing bluff,” said SolTerra president Brian Heather to the EDRB at the time. “The idea behind this project is that we really wanted to tell a different story.”
The new direction for 1208 Pine St. follows the splitting up of SolTerra into two businesses and the laying off of design professionals, as reported by the Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon in January. Heather and cofounder James Wong are running separate firms, with Heather now more involved in the solar energy and green wall projects that were SolTerra’s original focus.
Architect Bob Tiscareno of Tiscareno Associates updated the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council on the changes to 1208 Pine St last week, the project going back to the EDRB for early design guidance in June. Wong’s Vibrant Cities company is now leading the project.
The project is now seeking LEED Gold for its environmental design, will be eight stories and include two floors of office space. The height and massing will be similar to to the nearby Pine+Minor Apartments, Tiscareno said.
“I think it’ll be a great introduction to Capitol Hill,” he told PPUNC on March 20.
There will be retail on the ground floor — currently a paid-parking lot — that will hopefully include a restaurant, Tiscareno said, and a leasing center. The lobby will be two stories, the second floor recessed back as office space, with the third-floor extended for a total 17,000 square feet of office space in the building. This allowed for the addition of deck space on the fourth floor, Tiscareno said.
There will be 70 residential units — 14 units per floor — with studio and one- and two-bedroom options.
Tiscareno said the Washington State Department of Transportation isn’t allowing any plantings around the side of the building facing I-5, said Tiscareno Associates architect Bill Barton.
McCaela Daffern with PPUNC said drug use behind a fenced area west of the property could be the reason. Barton said Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce executive director Sierra Hansen informed them of such issues during a meeting three weeks ago regarding a Capitol Hill Business Improvement Area.
“She gave a very thorough update about what’s going on,” he said.
The Capitol Hill Times has reached out to Vibrant Cities for more on the design changes, and will update this story when that information becomes available.