Saturday, September 17, 2016

New Downtown Housing Proposed for Corner of Front and Court

Here we go, there's no drive-through coffee shack for this corner!

Old Safeway at 245 Court - time for redevelopment!
Last month at CANDO there was talk about a new downtown housing project proposed for the corner of Front and Court downtown. Application for design review was just filed with the City this week, and the Downtown Advisory Board meets next week and will consider a grant application for $740,000 Urban Renewal funds to support the project. They're moving fast!

From the Urban Renewal application:
The redevelopment proposal [currently estimated at $9 million total] comprises a 43,790 square foot mixed-use building with 40 residential apartments on four floors over parking, ancillary uses and commercial space. The retail building is designed as a one story building of approximately 2,180 square feet. Parking is provided in an open garage and a surface lot that is tucked behind the buildings...A landscaped plaza is planned for the open area between the two structures and will provide both private and public open space...
Corner of Court and Front
The project site, approximately the quarter block at the northeast corner of Front and Court, is a parking lot with the early 1940s Safeway, and it seems likely the old Safeway will be demolished. No matter. The lot is just outside the downtown historic district, so it's not protected by that, and new housing is an unambiguously higher use for the land than repurposing the old grocery store shell, which had been remodeled already for offices. It has been vacant for a while anyway, and didn't seem to be in very high demand. Housing will be great. The small plaza and disposition of the parking sound appropriately urban.

You might recall also the 1996 plan for wider sidewalks and small corner plazas at this intersection. Even if the sidewalks won't be widened, the proposal is consistent with the spirit of that vision, and it sounds like it will greet the sidewalk on Court Street more congenially than The Rivers did, having put their parking on Court and directly addressing Front Street instead.

1996 vision v. current reality
(Riverfront Downtown Core Area Master Plan, 1996)
So what's not to like?

There will be certainly more to say later this month as details come out and the proposal gets further into the review process.

With the success of South Block Apartments, and across the street with The Rivers finally full, maybe downtown construction and redevelopment is going to pick up again. That would be exciting and great news for Salem.

1 comment:

Cara Kaser said...

My understanding from seeing this proposed at the CANDO meeting last month was that the old Safeway building would be remodeled for commercial space, and the new 4-story mixed-use commercial/housing building would be constructed next to it.