Goose Hollow condo tower gets second chance

City approves a smaller Allegro
by: COURTESY OF SIENNA ARCHITECTURE CO., Renderings show the larger, rejected plan (left) for the Allegro, and the smaller, current proposal that received city approval this week. The building will go up on Southwest Salmon Street between 17th and 18th avenues.

The Allegro, a controversial Goose Hollow condominium project that brought attention to the growing practice of trading development rights between distant properties, has received city approval in a scaled-down form.

In August, the City Council rejected plans for a 21-story condominium to be built across from Lincoln High School after an appeal by the Goose Hollow neighborhood association. Some Goose Hollow neighbors testified they thought the project was out of scale with the rest of the area.

City Council members took issue with the developer's intention to increase the size of the building by buying development rights - or FAR, floor-to-area ratio assigned to various buildings - from two other properties.

One of those properties was located in the Lloyd District, several miles away from the proposed building site. Another was owned by TriMet, which had agreed to transfer 105,000 square feet of development rights over a transit mall for $1.4 million.

Last week's approval of the condominium project by the city Design Commission has passed without appeal, so the development has a green light to proceed.

The approved design of the Allegro is for a 20-story tower with a smaller two-story section. The original design had a 21-story tower with a separate 16-story tower next to it.

The smaller second section allows the Allegro to be built with a floor-to-area ratio of 9-1, considerably less than the 12-1 floor-to-area ratio developers originally sought. No floor-to-area ratio transfers were necessary to construct the final design.

Land zoned for a 9-1 FAR means the total floor space of the property's building, regardless of height, can be no more than nine times the size of the property's dimensions.

It means that if builders want to build taller, they have to build skinnier. If they want to build bulkier, they have to build shorter.

Paul Krueger, the project's lead developer, said the new design allows for 158 condominium units, considerably less than the 228 in the original design.

In general, Krueger has said, fewer units means less revenue, which translates into a building with fewer design extras.

The debate over the Allegro prompted the City Council to form a work group to make recommendations for a policy on allowable and unallowable transfers of development rights.

Jeff Joslin, land-use manager with the city's Bureau of Development Services, said the group will begin meeting in January and by spring or early summer have guidelines for the City Council to consider.

'In the future it is likely that transfers of FAR will have to demonstrate benefits to the city,' Joslin said.

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