Street extension squeezes Biggi site
The City Council's decision last week to approve extending Rose Biggi Avenue from Crescent Street to connect with Hall Boulevard puts a local businessman - whose family name is synonymous with Central Beaverton - in an awkward position.
The current alignment of the street extension cuts directly through the parking lot on the east side of the BG Westgate Plaza, an office building Domonic Biggi owns and manages at 3800 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd.
With a new sidewalk for the extended street to come within feet of his two-story complex, Biggi hopes to relocate some parking spaces to the east of the new Rose Biggi Avenue. Four spaces now dedicated to those with disabilities will be displaced.
He stands to lose close to 50 spaces in the process.
'We'll gain a little bit back with street parking,' he said. 'We're trying to configure some things around.'
While he's all for completing the street that bears his beloved grandmother's name, Biggi admitted it would be a challenge to accommodate both his tenants and urban progress.
'The challenge is separating our building from the parking lot,' he said. 'The tenants on that end of the building will now have to cross the street to get into the building. And I don't know what the volume of traffic is going to be on that street.'
Biggi is a vocal proponent of the city's recent plans to revitalize development plans at The Round at Beaverton Central, the mixed-use, four-building complex on Southwest Millikan Way just east of Rose Biggi Avenue.
He supported both the city's collaboration with ScanlanKemperBard Companies to redevelop a number of Round properties - and relieve $990,000 in inherited city debt - as well as last week's council decision to purchase the five-story South Office/Coldwell Banker building for $8.65 million.
It's perhaps a measure of his enthusiasm for the projects that Biggi's taking a glass half-full approach to the parking changes at the BG building.
'In general, streets are good. I've always been very pro-street,' he said, noting that his family donated land to extend Hall Boulevard near The Round. 'Along with roads come opportunities. All transportation plays better when roads go through there. This just comes with challenges because of the parking lot.'
Councilor Catherine Arnold said she supports the plan, which adds sidewalks, bike lanes and visual amenities to the two-lane Rose Biggi Avenue.
'We're doing it to increase sight lines and connectivity,' she said. 'We're going to do some work on Crescent (Street) and put in a bike lane and pedestrian area, and put that road through. With things like that, it's taken so long to come through - years and years and years.'
The project begins later this year and should be completed between fall 2013 and spring 2014.
Arnold was sympathetic to Biggi's dilemma and the impact the road extension will have on the office building and parking.
'There's trade-offs. It will be good for (Rose Biggi Avenue) to go through because it adds a lot of connectivity,' she said. 'But for him as a property owner, he won't have as nice a parking lot as he had before the street went through.'
Biggi said he plans to work out the fine points with the city before outlining the project - and its short- and long-term implications - for his 64 tenants. The building is home to several philanthropic organizations, a bridge-playing club geared toward retirees, and various health and wellness practitioners.
'It's an easy building to get in and out of,' he said.
Biggi is working closely with city planners on the street alignment and how it might affect the building's parking.
Despite the project's complications, Biggi imagines his grandmother Rose, who passed away in 1985, would approve of the plan that brings her former horseradish-farm land firmly into urban, 21st century Beaverton.
'She would be tickled pink to see the road go through, let alone have it named after her,' he said. 'She was always looking forward. That's just how she was.'