The Hearing Notice for the apartment block looks on the surface to be a terrific project just up the street from Boon's, on the corner of E Street and Broadway NE.
|Pretty sure this is looking southeast (180 degrees switched)|
|That southeast view: It's an empty lot now|
With the site plan and design review are some requests for small adjustments on parking and landscaping. On the surface these also look reasonable.
There will probably be more to say when the Staff Report comes out. Bike parking is under an overhang, so it's sheltered, there's a nice interior courtyard and a balance of public/private space, and it's streetcar-scaled. Salem doesn't have many buildings like this any more.
|Similarly massed and streetcar-scaled:|
Court Apartments - Jan 1st, 1916
I want more development like this. I know it's not "missing middle"; it's bigger. But it's so much more urbane and walkable than our autoist clusters of similarly-sized buildings set on a giant parking lot and recessed from public sidewalks and street frontage like this.
|Site plan from a few years back: Three story walkups|
on a vast parking lot
I guess this is like the sign code and hearings and process for that - all the fear of visual clutter and vulgarity and such.
But it seems strange that murals downtown for "Mirror Maze" and "Waldo Stewards" did not require a formal Public Hearing. They just appeared. The Art Association wanted a sculpture, and it just appeared in Bush Park. None of our recent art installations required a Public Hearing.
|Proposed mural for Miller Street SE|
The Public Art Commission will evaluate and deliberate on this landscape concept for Miller Street at Commercial, right by the Best Little Road House and the Wild Bird store.
This seems like unnecessary gatekeeping and curation. Why? What real public need does this serve?
So wait, remember some slides from the State Street Corridor Study that showed problems with a certain kind of development penciling out? This 990 Broadway project is basically the same size!
|Four stories of retail and housing: Ideal|
|Doesn't pencil out|
(Update to the Addendum: The lot is in both the Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Area and one Salem's Opportunity Zones. Maybe this is the factor.)