On March 22nd, the Portland City Council approved a proposal to increase the building height limit from 75 feet to 325 feet in the RiverPlace neighborhood. NBP Capital, the development firm who owns land in the RiverPlace neighborhood, including The Douglas Apartments and the former RiverPlace Athletic Club, asked the council to raise the building height limit.
According to The Oregonian, NBP Capital hopes to develop 2,000 new apartment complexes in the RiverPlace area. Due to a 2017 city mandate that was created to address the affordable housing crisis in Portland, developers in Portland are required to include rent-restricted housing in new developments constructed in the city. As a consequence, The Portland Tribune reports that approximately 500 of the 2,000 new apartments that NBP Capital plans to construct in the RiverPlace neighborhood “would be affordable to households earning 80 percent of the area's median family income.”
The approval made on March 22nd was a surprise to many who have been following this highly controversial debate, especially after the Portland City Council decided on March 7th to reject a proposal for the construction of the Fremont Apartments, a high-rise apartment complex that was planned to be built in the Pearl District. Many residents in the Pearl District united together through the Pearl Neighborhood Association to protest this proposal, arguing that the high rise apartments would restrict their views of the Fremont Bridge.
Many residents who live in the RiverPlace neighborhood are similarly not enthusiastic about the newly approved proposal for the increased building height limit at RiverPlace. In fact, The Portland Tribune notes that many residents have recently joined together to create the South Downtown Neighborhood Development Coalition in order to voice their dissent on this issue. The members from this coalition argue that the construction of new high rise apartments would ruin their views of the Willamette River.
SWCR will continue to keep you posted about the latest developments regarding this controversial issue that affects our nearby neighbors at RiverPlace.