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Portland Design Commission approves new Pioneer Place Apple Store plan

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Portland, Oregon's Design Commission has voted 5-1 to approve plans for large glass Apple retail store planned to replace the shuttered Saks Fifth Avenue location at Pioneer Square.

Strike one

According to coverage of the situation by Apple Retail watchdog IFOAppleStore, the commission, a panel of citizens charged with "leadership and expertise on urban design and architecture and on maintaining and enhancing Portland?s historical and architectural heritage," previously derailed plans for an Apple Store in 2006, which had been planned for the Northwest District, about a mile from the company's existing downtown store in the basement of the Pioneer Place mall.

After the commission complained at length about everything from the proposed building materials to plans for parking and recommended that the company build a two story building instead of the single story structure its architects has designed, Apple pulled the plug on its expansion plans for downtown Portland.

A second try

However, after outgrowing its existing, relatively small Pioneer Place location, Apple returned to Portland with plans to demolish a vacant two story building occupied by one of the former anchor tenants of the same downtown shopping center and to replace it with a 165 foot (50 meters) long glass structure, which would be above ground and therefore far more visible (as well as much larger).

The new site is also adjacent to Portland's MAX light rail system, which brings commuters, shoppers and tourists through the city from the suburbs of Beaverton to the west and Gresham to the east. If the store's plans proceed as expected, Apple will gain tremendous visibility at the new location (depicted as it currently appears in a photo by IFOAppleStore writer Gary Allen appearing on Flickr.)

The plans also call for demolishing a overhead walkway that connected the former store to the rest of the complex, an aspect that the commission favored during discussion of the project back in March. The graphic below, from Portland's Oregonian newspaper, depicts how the new glass store will replace the larger stone structure and metal skyway currently in place.



The paper noted that "Many Apple lovers had worried local criticism could derail such a project as it did a proposed Apple location on Northwest 23rd Avenue in 2006."

While commission members expressed other reservations and concerns about Apple's latest plans, only one member voted against the plan, sending it forward for approval from other city agencies. Construction is expected to begin next year.
post #2 of 18

The difference is that in 2012 Apple is the number 1 tech company in the world.

 

In 2006 Apple was not so attractive.

 

Only a fool would reject AppleStore now.

post #3 of 18

I can't believe that one idiot on the Design Commission that voted against this. Takes all kinds....

post #4 of 18

It's about time. The existing store is tiny and constantly packed wall-to-wall, meanwhile half of that mall is vacant.

post #5 of 18

23rd St. is not "downtown Portland".  It's a highly over-congested commercial stretch on a narrow street in a residential neighborhood.  The hubristic Portland government has designated this area as prime for "in-fill" commercial development, but the reality is that it's over-capacity already in terms of infrastructure support.  Just drive on 23rd or Burnside near there any soggy afternoon rush hour and prepare to pull your hair out.    This new location is much, much smarter both for Apple and for the sake of traffic flow in the whole central area and definitely for quality of life around 23rd St.   This article trumpets the location's adjacency to the light rail line, which operates at a fraction of the potential ridership because it is so slow and circuitous, but the new location is also within 1 block of about 4 high-capacity parking garages - which are used routinely by most people going downtown (the ones who want to get there in 1/4 the time it takes on the light rail).

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Steinberg View Post

I can't believe that one idiot on the Design Commission that voted against this. Takes all kinds....

 

 

Maybe it’s an Android user....lol.gif

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmanofds View Post

 

 

Maybe it’s an Android user....lol.gif

Yup, must have been a total dweeb.

 

Let's hope Apple succeeds where Saks did not. Btw, I am guessing that Saks failed there for a reason: Portlandianism.

post #8 of 18

I agree that the downtown location is MUCH better than putting the store on 23rd.  However, being near the light rail line will prove to be advantageous.  Study after study in Portland has proven that retail businesses on mass transit lines do better overall than retail businesses that aren't along mass transit lines.  I would also say that the Max (light rail) does very well in terms of ridership.  Max serves about 126,000 people a day. Just take a look at it during rush hour.  It is typically full. 

 

Portland is excited for the new Apple store.  The one in Pioneer Place is just too small. 

post #9 of 18

I live in Portland.  The NW 23rd Ave. Apple store that got rejected was a thing of beauty.  It would have done a lot to bring even more foot traffic to 23rd.  I do wonder though...  had the 23rd store been built, would Apple still be building this huge beauty downtown?  Or would Apple have gone with a more modest space?

 

I'm excited about this one.  It'll be great for downtown.

post #10 of 18
Quote:
23rd St. is not "downtown Portland".  It's a highly over-congested commercial stretch on a narrow street in a residential neighborhood.  The hubristic Portland government has designated this area as prime for "in-fill" commercial development, but the reality is that it's over-capacity already in terms of infrastructure support.  Just drive on 23rd or Burnside near there any soggy afternoon rush hour and prepare to pull your hair out.    This new location is much, much smarter both for Apple and for the sake of traffic flow in the whole central area and definitely for quality of life around 23rd St.   This article trumpets the location's adjacency to the light rail line, which operates at a fraction of the potential ridership because it is so slow and circuitous, but the new location is also within 1 block of about 4 high-capacity parking garages - which are used routinely by most people going downtown (the ones who want to get there in 1/4 the time it takes on the light rail).

 

I am not sure you actually know about this place.

 

But I live here. 

 

 

 

Quote:
23rd St. is not "downtown Portland".

 

OK, that is factual.

 

 

 

 

Quote:
It's a highly over-congested commercial stretch on a narrow street in a residential neighborhood.

 

Well, it can be congested - but it is not a "residential neighborhood" despite the fact that tons of people I know live there.  It is a "mixed use" neighborhood, and we all love it there.

 

 

 

Quote:
The hubristic Portland government has designated this area as prime for "in-fill" commercial development, but the reality is that it's over-capacity already in terms of infrastructure support.

 

Not exactly.  You see - "infrastructure support" can mean so many things.

 

 

 

Quote:
Just drive on 23rd or Burnside near there any soggy afternoon rush hour and prepare to pull your hair out.

 

Well, no one is forcing you to drive.  You can walk, bike, bus, streetcar, or lightrail there too.

Also, on any soggy afternoon rush hour I want to pull my hair out anywhere in the city.  That's why they call it rush hour.  Every city has them in some fashion.  The traffic at rush hour is bad anywhere there are people, jobs, and recreation.

 

 

 

Quote:
This new location is much, much smarter both for Apple and for the sake of traffic flow in the whole central area and definitely for quality of life around 23rd St.

 

Maybe for NIMBY folks in the NW 23rd neighborhood.  But as for the sake of traffic flow, downtown has just as many problems.  I have been there every day for a decade and a half.

 

 

 

Quote:
This article trumpets the location's adjacency to the light rail line, which operates at a fraction of the potential ridership because it is so slow and circuitous

 

This is your most absurd statement.

 

MAX light rail is highly used, one of the most well used light-rail lines in the nation.  134,000 people ride MAX every weekday (as of May 2012), and our light-rail ridership is growing per-capita faster than Vehicle Miles Traveled.  About 90,000 of those daily riders are on the two lines which pass directly in front of this location and the other 40k are on the other two lines which are only a block or two away (depending on travel direction - it's a one-way street grid).  Additionally a fifth MAX line is opening a year or two after this store would open, also passing within a block or two of this location.  

 

That's not counting the hundreds of busses and streetcars in the area...

 

Although I guess if I wanted to be pedantic - I would point out that you are actually correct as you say a "fraction of the potential ridership" because even 1/1 is a fraction - so no matter how many people use something it is always a fraction of the potential.   Heck 2/1 is a fraction too...

 

 

 

Quote:
but the new location is also within 1 block of about 4 high-capacity parking garages - which are used routinely by most people going downtown (the ones who want to get there in 1/4 the time it takes on the light rail).

 

There are plenty of parking garages, you are correct there.  Doesn't mean the light rail isn't valuable as well.  In fact the last 10 times I have purchased something from that store (including my new iMac last year) I have done so via light-rail, so am I somehow less valuable than those who drove to the garage (which by the way Apple pays to validate parking, so it actually costs them money to have customers drive to this location).

 

I am not sure what your anti-transit, anti-Portland rant has to do with this cool new potentially awesome Apple store location.

 

I am kind of bummed they will take out the glass bridge over the street to the mall, it seems like it would be a good match for a glass store...  I like the glass bridges to/from Pioneer place.

post #11 of 18

I like skyways. Such walkways should be utilized more often in crowded cities. I would like it if all of the bottom floors of buildings were used for parking and deliveries off the streets. Then the next level up could be the pedestrian level with elevated walkways crossing all of the streets. The walkways could form parks above the streets if they were big enough.
 

post #12 of 18

Ok, Apple is putting a big store in. So where is the Microsoft store going to be? ;-)

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post #13 of 18
I recently visited Portland and used the Max rail system. For the inner city area it is free which is perhaps why you see so many down and out street people. There are I'm sure many sophisticated Portland residents however my impression was that the younger generation seems really bankrupt culturally and financially. I don't know, seems kind stupid to spend money on facial tattoos when you don't have enough money for food or a place to live. The older middle aged people tend to be very obese and depressing. In Pioneer Sq. a lot of people are just hanging out and milling around with nothing to do. Hopefully Apple can bring some class to this part of town because right now it is rather shabby in my opinion.

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post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I recently visited Portland and used the Max rail system. For the inner city area it is free which is perhaps why you see so many down and out street people. There are I'm sure many sophisticated Portland residents however my impression was that the younger generation seems really bankrupt culturally and financially. I don't know, seems kind stupid to spend money on facial tattoos when you don't have enough money for food or a place to live. The older middle aged people tend to be very obese and depressing. In Pioneer Sq. a lot of people are just hanging out and milling around with nothing to do. Hopefully Apple can bring some class to this part of town because right now it is rather shabby in my opinion.

Hilarious post. You were there for how long? You went to how many areas of the city? So you just happen to go where the street kids hang out, and that tells you everyone's fat, ugly and broke, with stupid tatoos? FYI, the culture for young people here is amazing - artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers all over the place. A very strong environmental and political ethic among them as well. Of course there are street kids and homeless people - Portland lets them live their lives, instead of harassing them and moving them out to places where nobody sees them.

 

I actually like your version of things - maybe we'll get less Californians moving here.

 

P.S. Pioneer Place is a downtown shopping destination. Pioneer Square is a free speech square where people hang out. Totally different places, not even close to each other.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Yup, must have been a total dweeb.

 

Let's hope Apple succeeds where Saks did not. Btw, I am guessing that Saks failed there for a reason: Portlandianism.

Saks has only been in Portland since the 80s or so. Around 1988, Saks opened a fur store separately from its main downtown location - it didn't last very long. Selling furs in Portland? Tells you how much Saks is out of touch.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Hilarious post. You were there for how long? You went to how many areas of the city? So you just happen to go where the street kids hang out, and that tells you everyone's fat, ugly and broke, with stupid tatoos? FYI, the culture for young people here is amazing - artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers all over the place. A very strong environmental and political ethic among them as well. Of course there are street kids and homeless people - Portland lets them live their lives, instead of harassing them and moving them out to places where nobody sees them.

 

I actually like your version of things - maybe we'll get less Californians moving here.

 

P.S. Pioneer Place is a downtown shopping destination. Pioneer Square is a free speech square where people hang out. Totally different places, not even close to each other.

Sorry to be so critical. I was there for 10 days and stayed at the Hilton a block from the proposed Apple store location, however riding the Max to and from the Convention Center everyday as well as to and from the airport, I was left with the same impression. I walked a lot in every direction for about a mile radius and my impression was basically unchanged. I did see some very normal looking people down by the river who were mostly runners and moms with strollers. I tried to see as much as possible while there and I probably should mention that I did go to college in Eugene Oregon but that is completely different culture altogether. I went to Saturday market also. We had Saturday market in Eugene as well. I guess I'm just not part of that culture. It seems like such a waste of time, but many people apparently enjoy it. I found it completely boring and reminiscent of the failure that was the hippie era.

 

Californians seem to be universally disliked by the neighboring states, however people living in California tend to not want anyone moving here either, so the feeling is mutual. I for one will not be moving to Portland any time soon.

 

It would have been more interesting had you said that there was a vibrant community of software developers, entertainment and music industry producers, special effects artists or art galleries. Every city has musicians, artists and filmmakers except in most cases those careers are just marginally above street performers in that the artists might have a place to sleep compared to real, high paying versions of those job descriptions in LA.


Edited by mstone - 7/21/12 at 8:29pm

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post #17 of 18
Quote:

Sorry to be so critical. I was there for 10 days and stayed at the Hilton a block from the proposed Apple store location, however riding the Max to and from the Convention Center everyday as well as to and from the airport, I was left with the same impression. I walked a lot in every direction for about a mile radius and my impression was basically unchanged. I did see some very normal looking people down by the river who were mostly runners and moms with strollers. I tried to see as much as possible while there and I probably should mention that I did go to college in Eugene Oregon but that is completely different culture altogether. I went to Saturday market also. We had Saturday market in Eugene as well. I guess I'm just not part of that culture. It seems like such a waste of time, but many people apparently enjoy it. I found it completely boring and reminiscent of the failure that was the hippie era.

 

Californians seem to be universally disliked by the neighboring states, however people living in California tend to not want anyone moving here either, so the feeling is mutual. I for one will not be moving to Portland any time soon.

 

It would have been more interesting had you said that there was a vibrant community of software developers, entertainment and music industry producers, special effects artists or art galleries. Every city has musicians, artists and filmmakers except in most cases those careers are just marginally above street performers in that the artists might have a place to sleep compared to real, high paying versions of those job descriptions in LA.

 

Your comment pretty much exemplifies why people don't like Californians.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Hopefully Apple can bring some class to this part of town because right now it is rather shabby in my opinion.

 

Do you think you could convince some property owners of that?  Because I would really love a nice condo downtown but they are all way way out of my price range (unless I want to cram my family into a studio or small one bedroom).

 

Maybe they haven't heard that it is shabby...

 

I'll print out your post and show it to them when I make an offer on a condo - maybe they will come down a couple hundred grand...
 

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