Sunday’s Oregonian included a Randy Gragg profile of developer Joe Weston in the Opinion section. Weston has spent decades of developing small apartments and other projects around the city in established neighborhoods. He’s now one of the city’s major players in the boom of larger high-density residential projects.
Weston took over as developer of the Benson Tower in the West End for the late Eric van Doorninck of Vancouver, who originally spearheaded the project. The Benson, which is now nearing completion, will be the first point tower – a condo with 8,000 square feet or less, as compared to the more standard (for Portland) slab tower of 12,000-20,000 square feet.
More recently, Weston has taken the Benson model here and will break ground soon on The Manhattan, a 31-story condo at 14th and Alder. And as Randy reports, there is also a Weston project coming to the Lloyd District: The Cosmopolitan at Grand and Multnomah, which hopefully finally invigorate residential activity there to balance out the shopping, offices, the Rose Garden, and the overall suburban-esque environment.
But what caught my eye most in Randy’s profile was Weston’s campaign to have the city change the building code to remove height limits for buildings with 8,000 square feet or less per floor. With the Central City Plan update coming from city planners, it’s not out of the question. I think it’s unlikely, but an idea worth discussing.
Randy's article calls the emergence of point towers "era-shifting".What do the rest of you think of Weston's proposal? I don't know about allowing unlimited height, but I certainly favor skinnier buildings. This could favor more quarter-block developments as well, which would be great to see. I'm really tired of big condos that take up entire blocks or even half-blocks.