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The Barcelona at Beaverton apartments near completion

First residents will move into low-income housing this month


TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - A new affordable housing building, The Barcelona, is almost complete in downtown Beaverton.This week, construction workers are rushing around at The Barcelona at Beaverton, putting the finishing touches on the four-story apartment building in Beaverton’s Old Town.

In another two weeks, the activity at the corner of Southwest Lombard Avenue and Second Street will be of a different kind as the first residents move into Community Partners for Affordable Housing's 47-unit project.

The building provides a place to live for low-income people, including seniors and people with disabilities, in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, an area which is experiencing something of a building boom.

“The need for affordable housing is just tremendous,” especially in Beaverton, said Rachael Duke, CPAH’s executive director.

The demand was clear when it took just four hours to process paperwork to rent 46 units at The Barcelona. Another 85 households are on the waiting list.

The building contains mostly one-bedroom apartments with a handful of studio and two-bedroom units. The 47th unit, a two-bedroom apartment, will be occupied by an on-site manager.TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The fourth-floor common room at The Barcelona has nice views of Beaverton and Mount Hood.

The building’s European name comes from a trip its architect took near the time of its design. Its modern features are complemented with subtle touches of the Spanish city, said Karen Perl Fox, CPAH’s housing development manager.

But the building also has many modern features, including green elements such as energy-efficient construction, solar panels and water-saving technology, Fox said.

Art decorates the building inside and out, including a large mural of native flora and fauna in the building’s small covered parking area and a “green wall” of cascading native plants on the building’s Lombard Avenue face. Several pieces of artwork inside celebrate Beaverton’s history.

“Affordable housing is very important, but it should also be beautiful,” said Duke, on her second visit to The Barcelona after starting her job a few weeks ago.

Inside, a community room will be available free to community groups. Another commons room on the fourth floor, dubbed “the solarium,” is for residents only and has a commanding view of Mount Hood. Small seating areas at the east end of each hallway have similar views for residents.

“We wanted to do a quality building that will add to the community,” Fox said. “We’ve done a lot to continue to beautify the city.”

Residents qualify by their income levels. Most will pay $604 to $713 per month, or a bit less for the few studio units. Eight residents will have vouchers limiting their rent to 30 percent of their income, Fox added.

Federal low-income housing tax credits are funding about three-quarters of the $10.6 million project’s cost. State, county, city and nonprofit organizations also contributed to funding the project.

Fox said The Barcelona is helping serve as a “catalyst” to promote additional investment in Old Town.

Immediately next door, RKM Development is in the process of building the five-story La Scala building with market-rate apartments and ground-floor storefronts. It shares the same architect, and residents of both buildings will share a plaza between them.

Another mid-rise apartment building is just getting started several blocks west, among other recent and planned developments in the area, a walkable neighborhood close to the city’s main Post Office, City Library, Farmers Market and mass transit.

Grand Opening

Elected officials, housing advocates and others will celebrate the near completion of The Barcelona at Beaverton from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday. Remarks will begin at 3:15 p.m. at The Barcelona, 4745 S.W. Lombard Ave., Beaverton.