More on Proposed Development Adjacent to Hollywood Theatre

At recent meetings with the architect of a proposed new development adjacent to the Hollywood Theatre, concerns were raised by theater operators about the 5-story mixed-use building’s design. Taking a very proactive stance, the theater has proposed an alternative footprint for the new building as a way to meet the needs of the neighborhood, while also preserving views of the Hollywood Theatre’s wonderful facade.

Thanks to Doug Whyte, Executive Director of the Hollywood Theatre, for sharing this information.

Here is the text of the Hollywood Theatre’s response:

“The proposed project by Myhre Group and Creston Homes promises to bring more life to the commercial core of the Hollywood neighborhood. It is a great opportunity to densify a city neighborhood while taking advantage of nearby public transit and local goods and services. This project undertakes to bring an influx of patrons within steps of local businesses, supporting a community that has been a gateway to inner Portland for more than a century. 

At the heart of this business core is the Hollywood Theatre, for which the neighborhood is named. It is one of the last examples of atmospheric theatres left in Oregon, and is an important Portland landmark. The theatre provided an escape for residents from war and depression through both live vaudeville performances as well as early film. It was a focal point for the community, both by providing a venue for community–based events and also as a visual landmark in the landscape of the neighborhood. Today the theatre is becoming that focal point again, for the local neighborhood and Portland as a whole. 

We believe the proposed project could go further in respecting the theatre and its importance to the community. The current proposal does not relate in scale to the theater and will significantly obscure the terra cotta façade, the most widely recognized feature of the theatre, as one travels east on Sandy Blvd.The Hollywood Theatre would like to suggest that a cue be taken from the past; more specifically the Arcade building that once stood on the site of the now vacant lot. 

The building next door to the theatre kept the street edge but at midpoint of the lot turned at an angle to meet the theatre behind the marquee, providing an outdoor vestibule or anteroom to the lobby of the theatre. As seen in the photograph above it was used for events and for people lining up to get into the theatre. The scale of the adjoining building is two story immediately next to the theatre and takes a cue on height from the terra cotta façade. The two story wing, along with the two story retail to the east of the theatre entry, would help to bracket and frame the intricate façade. In addition, access to the courtyard could be maintained with a street level passageway from the Sandy side. The two story wing roof could also be used as a rooftop garden for residents, a unique amenity for rental properties (see diagram below). The new building, done in a light or buff colored brick, would blend in with the theatre and other buildings in its proximity. 

The Hollywood Theatre feels that the proposed building design could be adjusted to emulate this historic approach, deferring to the theatre on its east side and helping to ensure the theatre’s role as a landmark in the neighborhood and the city for years to come.”

Here is an image of their proposed modified design:

In this modified design, note that a portion of the new building could be turned in order to preserve the view of the theater's Sandy Blvd. facade.

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7 Comments

Filed under Historic Preservation, Infill Development

7 responses to “More on Proposed Development Adjacent to Hollywood Theatre

  1. So many issues with this project. First it’s way to big especially for a building with so many units and no on-site parking. That’s an issue for retail and residential units of the proposed building as well as the businesses and neighborhood around it. Also, the modern architecture which I’m sure will be touted as “green” to help sell the idea is a visual cancer. The building should have a one or 2 story stucco and terra cotta tile front perhaps with a modern top set back. It’s only fair to allow the builder a decent number of units. Portland is getting enough of these modern panel 1990’s style structures that are constructed out of exposed low grade materials that will need replacing in 10 years or less. In this case of course nothing of quality is being torn down and replaced but it is in the direct context of a very treasured structure. I realize the city wants jobs but the whole community has to live with it once it’s completed.

  2. Fred Leeson

    The key to improving this design will be to get it before the Portland Design Commission. It will take an appeal from the Hollywood Neighborhood Association to get it there. Given that the theater is one of THE landmark buildings of the entire East Side, its new neighbor needs detailed scrutiny.

    • Fred,

      How do we get to the Portland Design Commission? I’ve attended several of the meetings on the subject, and I am interested in helping this work out in a manner that works best for the Hollywood.

  3. Fred Leeson

    Janey — Once the sity staff approves a plan, the Hollywood Neighborhood Association can file an appeal contending that violates one or more design guidelines. The neighborhood assocaiation can file an appeal without cost. A citizen would have to pay a substantial fee. That’s why the neighborhood association has to stay on top of watching this….and so far the association is being highly vigilant.

  4. After the disappearance of the panoramic view of Union Station which truly sickens my soul, the thought of losing the now-present-and-rightfully-so view of the Hollywood Theatre makes me just plain angry.

    How could anyone think it would be OK to come into a neighborhood and take away its visual self? I liken it to having someone who says, “Hello. I’m moving next door and I’m going to make things so much better for you here in the neighborhood, just because I can. And I’m going to take away a neighborhood icon that you adore, just because I can. I don’t care one bit if the neighborhood retains any of its known individuality, just because I don’t. Whether or not anyone maintains their current relationship with the neighborhood or develops a new one with it, once I’ve done what I set out to do, means nothing to me, just because I don’t care.

    It is time to get that ‘someone who’s moving in’ to understand that ‘just because’ is a gutless, selfish, short-sighted way to operate.

    Fred Leeson says in his June 3rd comment that the way to go is to get the design under the Portland Design Commission’s microscope. I don’t see it on the agenda for the June 16 building. I’m going to e-mail the name listed at portlandonline dot com as the Boards and Commissions Contact and ask how to get it on the agenda.

    • Well, shoot, while I was Googling and researching, Fred Leeson has provided an answer. Thanks, Fred! Now let’s see if I get an answer from the man at the City.

  5. Below is a link to the Hollywood Boosters website, showing the letter they recently sent to the City, the architect, and others regarding this project. It seems they are making a reasonable request as are the folks from the Hollywood Theatre.

    http://www.hollywoodboosters.com/

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