Another ‘Signal’ of transit-oriented development

The bar is being raised for development in Portland suburbs.

“In order for communities to compete, they are having to up the game in terms of the type of amenities people are looking for,” said Megan Gibb, transit-oriented development program manager for Metro. “Transit is one of those things. We have a lot of events right now between ground-breakings and openings.”

For instance, on Wednesday ground was broken for a four-story mixed-use development in Beaverton. The Signal will be located at 4545 S.W. Angel Ave. in Beaverton’s Old Town neighborhood, close to light rail and bus lines. Rembold is developing the project, and Ankrom Moisan Architects is designing it. Construction is expected to finish by November 2016.

“The suburban communities have known for a while that development is going to start happening out there as the Portland-metro area grows,” said Sarah Bartlett, marketing and branding manager for Ankrom Moisan Architects. “Portland-metro (municipalities are) really passionate about public transportation, so it makes sense they would be starting to build up around the MAX.”

The property’s proximity to mass transit was a major consideration, Rembold Vice President Kali Bader said.

“That’s something we always look for when we look at sites,” she said. “It can help with parking and everything else. It’s a benefit to the residents. It just gives them so many more options. From (the Signal site), they can bike to Nike and conceivably bike to Portland. Having transit within walking distance – with the buses and the MAX, you can get almost anywhere.”

The Signal will offer 78 market-rate studios, one-bedroom units or two-bedroom units, nine live-work units and 2,332 square feet of commercial space. Covered parking will be provided for no more than 65 vehicles. Community spaces will include a fitness center and a station for washing bicycles or dogs. Bader said that dog washing stations are becoming a trend in the metro area.

“There’s a lot of projects in Portland that are doing that,” she said. “It helps to keep our owners happier and our building cleaner.”

Stakeholders hope that the Signal will help create a walkable, vibrant neighborhood near transit as well as strengthen support for shops and restaurants and attract additional development to Beaverton’s core.

“It’s exciting to be part of the (renaissance) of downtown Beaverton,” Bartlett said. “New development is often a shot in the arm. We’re hoping that a lot of younger, urban-minded professionals are going to want to come into the neighborhood because there’s a beautiful new building that’s going to have great retail that is going to be closer to Nike and Intel and all of the great industry happening out there. It’s going to be the beginning of that neighborhood coming on strong.”

By Stephen Alexander, Daily Journal of Commerce