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Don't compare apples and oranges: Wizer Block plan dwarfs Lake View Village

Information provided by Portland developer Patrick Kessi about his new plan for developing the Wizer Block is extremely misleading.   

On Kessi’s website (keeplakeoswegovillagevibrant.com), he attempts to show that his proposed development is now similar in size and density to Lake View Village. But his statement that Lake View Village is 236,852 square feet includes the parking facility square footage, while his statement that the Wizer Block will be 291,963 square feet does not include the parking facility. Lake View Village actually is only 99,961 square feet, making Kessi’s proposed development almost three times larger!

In reality, all six Lake View Village buildings together have less square footage than just one of the Wizer Block buildings in Kessi’s proposal.

On both Kessi’s website and in his ad in the Lake Oswego Review, the statement that the largest building in Lake View Village is 219,000 square feet also includes parking facility square footage, yet Kessi doesn’t include parking facility square footage in his stated measurement of 122,527 square feet for his largest building on the Wizer Block.

Clearly, Lake View Village is much smaller and much less dense than the massive complex Kessi has planned for the Wizer Block, no matter what his promotional material says.

Kessi claims to have addressed citizens’ and business owners’ concerns about the height of his buildings by eliminating a fifth story. Yet in reality, the height of two of the three buildings in Kessi’s new plan remains exactly the same. In Lake View Village, the St. Honore building peaks at 41.5 feet; across the street, Kessi’s Wizer Block building would peak at almost 58 feet and loom over outdoor diners at St. Honore and Zeppo. (The 62-foot peaks in Lake View Village that Kessi refers to in his ad are on State Street.)

Kessi’s Wizer Block development is primarily an apartment complex with 207 rental units. Kessi states in his ad that his new plan increases retail/commercial space by 30 percent. Yet only 13 percent — or 36,500 square feet — of his new Wizer Block development will be retail/commercial. That’s much less than the 71,000 square feet of  retail/commercial space in the current building.

To make matters worse, the new Kessi plan for the Wizer Block has reduced the number of underground parking spaces by 60, so that now only 1.04 parking spaces for each residential unit will be provided. The proposed 207 rental units could be home to more than 400 tenants, and that will create a parking nightmare.

The City of Lake Oswego will incur more than $5 million in debt to help pay for the Wizer Block development, yet revenues from this development won’t go to the city’s general fund until after the city pays off this debt, estimated to be around 2029.

The new Wizer Block development should follow the original plan for East End Redevelopment, yet the Kessi plan does not. The Wizer Block development should have similar density and height to Lake View Village; between 30 and 60 residential units is much more realistic than 207 units in an area already impacted by traffic and a scarcity of parking space.

And finally, Kessi’s immense apartment complex does not belong next to Millennium Park Plaza.

Alex Babin is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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