Monday, November 1, 2021

New Project by new Costco, First Look at new Project for old Nordstrom, West Salem Study - Bits

There are several interesting matters that slipped under the radar and which deserve more interest and attention.

The biggest is a new project concept proposed for the large site sandwiched between the forthcoming Costco and I-5.

A large new project proposed (Costco label added)

Tomorrow the Planning Commission will hear an application to rezone the site.

Staff Recommends denial

Staff recommends denial. I was not able to read the full analysis and recommendation, and there might be more to say later. This is the sort of proceeding that seems unlikely to be decided after just one meeting.


At the West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board, last month they got a sneak peek of the concept for the former Nordstrom site.

Elevation from Liberty side (street labels added)

That will be so much more lively than the bricked up blankness of the Nordstrom and the mall buildings!

It may be more generic than stylish, but on the whole it looks like it will be a tremendous addition to downtown.

Approximate area of ULI study and panel
Also the area immediately to the north

More directly germane to the responsibilities of WSRAB they also got a presentation on the forthcoming Urban Land Institute's Technical Assistance Panel.

A month ago the City Manager described the project:

Under a contract with the City, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) will be convening a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) of experts to discuss the near- and longer-term strategies to generate ideas and input for spurring redevelopment in a portion of the West Salem Urban Renewal Area, west of Wallace Road NW. There is transition occurring with some of the manufacturing businesses in this area and three buildings are currently listed for sale, and one for lease. The City is recommending a new mixed-use zone in this area, but we’re hearing that the market might not yet support redevelopment of some of these buildings. We are making investments in 2nd Street NW, but traffic on Wallace Road NW and access to/from will still pose challenges for larger scale redevelopment. The focus of the TAP would be on near- and mid-term strategies to employ during this transition, attract development interest, and leverage our TIF strategically. A national ULI panel was engaged several years ago to discuss ideas for Salem’s downtown waterfront, including the former Boise site.

Maybe we'll come back specifically to look at the ULI panel and recommendations on the Boise site. The final project differs in many details, but in overall concept, is perhaps not so different. A comparison of study concepts to built reality might be interesting. At the same time, the mere existence of differences does not invalidate the study, and seems mainly to be an expression of changing realities on the ground. 

We'll come back to this probably as the West Salem study commences in December or January. And of course there will be more to say on the West Salem site itself also, as it is an interesting mix of older industry, newer things like Xicha, and vacant buildings.

WSRAB meets Wednesday the 3rd at 7:30am.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Also of interest, since we followed here the "big weed" and deletion of the reference desk with some dismay back in 2018, from the City Manager update just published:

"Sarah Strahl has resigned as the City Librarian. During her time with the City, Sarah oversaw some tremendous improvements in our Library service. She was the driving force behind many enhancements that include the renovations to our Main Library building, the creation of our curbside service, and the delivery of free parking policy. This has been a pivotal chapter in the Library’s story and Sarah leaves things better for her service. Sarah will be with the City until November 5."

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Two brief comments:

Late this afternoon Salem Reporter has a brief note on the Librarian resignation, but no additional information.

On the Kuebler/I-5 project, the Staff Report identifies several problems in the traffic analysis:

- Traffic counts in the analysis are outdated, more than two years old
- Construction with the Costco project distorts any traffic counts made at the current moment
- One of the seven proposed traffic mitigations is not supported by ODOT and therefore cannot be used in the analysis
- Full funding for the mitigations is not identified

Conclusion: "The analysis submitted by the applicant is deemed not acceptable because it does not meet the requirements identified in the PWDS and it does not adequately address the mitigation needed to avoid further degradation of the transportation facilities in the vicinity of the proposed zone change. Therefore, Staff recommends denial of the proposed changes to the existing Comprehensive Plan Map designation and zoning."

Separately, the South Gateway Neighborhood Association argues for a Mixed-Use zoning rather than Retail Commercial zoning.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Portland zoning twitter got a hold of the Nordstrom project, and the thread is a little amusing, especially since they are commenting without knowledge of the previous conversations about and attempts to redevelop the property. One person says, "awful unit breakdown. big 'apartments are for singles and childless couples' energy," which is in fact essentially true, is no surprise, but is not as "awful" as it might seem to an out-of-towner. The disposition of parking also occasioned comment.