Monday, July 15, 2019

Redeveloping Belluschi Pond at CANDO; MAPS Cans Drive-Thru

The downtown neighborhood association, CANDO, meets on Tuesday and they'll be getting an update on the proposal to redevelop the crater and seasonal pond on the corner of Liberty and Chemeketa, the former site of Pietro Belluschi's First National Bank.

And a new bank is poised to go in just down the street from the new Police Station.

From back in March, but they finally drained it

In April they said "a ways off," but it's looking closer now
On the CANDO agenda, the project is described as "mixed use" only, and may or may not have all 154 apartments mentioned back in April. It will also be interesting to learn whether the old City Hall site is included.

It will be great to see the corner redeveloped. (Update: Nope, the project's been cancelled.)

You might remember this concept for the half block from several years ago. It included both the old City Hall and the former First National Bank corners.

Revived concept for Old City Hall site: High & Chemeketa,
which would have included the Belluschi Bank lot (far right)
via Skyscraper
It is likely that the current proposal is smaller.

The block face along Chemeketa also had the old Capital Journal building, replaced after demolition by the bank's drive-thru. Here's a photo from the last "crater" on the corner.

The old Capital Journal Building and Belluschi Bank lot, 1946
Old City Hall in background
Salem Library Historic Photos
Here's the corner before the bank went in. It had a house and was residential in character!

The house (a gable-front and wing) before the bank
(Oregon Journal collection via Oregon Historical Society;
see longer discussion of the image here)
That will give us three phases of development: housing, the bank, and now a mixed-use concept.

How will the project handle the alley and traffic on Chemeketa?
Downtown Sidewalk Plan
One element of project design our current codes and design standards may not be prepared to regulate or contest is the way Chemeketa Street should be optimized for walking and biking. If the primary auto access and any driveway is on Chemeketa, this will degrade any slow street concepts. The City should give consideration to making the primary access by the Court Street alley entry, not anything off of Chemeketa.

All in all, the project has potential to liven a desolate block face and corner, but there are also autoist hazards along the way.

CANDO meets Tuesday the 16th at 6:00 p.m. at First Christian Church on 685 Marion Street NE

MAPS Apparently Cans the Drive-thru

Not on the CANDO agenda, but on the agenda for the Planning Commission, is a new bank building for MAPS Credit Union on the corner of Division and High/Broadway, one block east from the new Police Station.

There's a nice corner entry, it's flush to the sidewalk,
and no drive-thru is indicated on the plans!
You might recall an earlier concept for a drive-thru (and more here on the proposal itself).

It looks like they ditched the drive-thru concept!

They show a three-story building with nice ground-floor windows, and if the building's style looks ordinary, that's not an insult. It's just a plain bank building that relates to the street corner and sidewalk in the right way. It will be functional more than ornamental, and that's just dandy.

They'll be demolishing two existing mid-century masonry buildings, and it's too bad they couldn't be reused. But it's great there will be something on the corner itself.

The Planning Commission meeting will be Tuesday the 23rd at 5pm, at City Hall in Council Chambers.

(After the Staff Report is out, there might be more to say. Update: Nope, Staff Report recommends approval with a few minor technical conditions.)


Mike said...

Does this mean that the original MAPS building is coming down and another part of Mill Creek can get restored?

Mike said...

And why do they need all of that parking? There's plenty of On street around here

Susann Kaltwasser said...

And will this mean that the trees on Division that we fought so hard to keep will be removed?

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...


1) The "original MAPS building" will remain as corporate/admin HQ and will not be removed; the new building is a public-facing bank branch. The concept does not appear to have any streamside restoration. The plan labels it, "existing landscape to remain, typ [typical]."

2) The street trees are also labeled "existing tree to remain, typ.," though some are also labeled "prune existing trees adjacent to new building, typ."

3) As for the parking, I didn't see a count or look for a count, but it's not a meaningful change from the existing parking lot and stall count; maybe in the future they will build on it, or perhaps a cooperative arrangement with the City could be arranged for parking at the Police Station if that ever were needed.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

From CANDO minutes:

' Mountain West Investment Corp. has abandoned the project to develop 280 Liberty Street (old Wells Fargo site) because, per Richard Berger, “The costs simply could not justify a development there at this time.”'

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(Staff Report recommends approval on the MAPS project.)

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

At Council on Monday is the information report on "A partition to consolidate several underlying units of land into one parcel" for the bank project.