Over a decade in the making, the now-moving Burnside Bridgehead project will not only create a variety of residential, office and retail buildings in downtown Portland, but will add a bit of spice to the architectural aesthetic in the traditionally traditional area.

Under the okay from the Portland Development Commission, which now owns the land under the development, the four-acre site with five blocks at the northeast end of the Burnside Bridge has a plan.

And construction.

Led by the vision of Beam Development, the first two completely new projects for the Burnside Bridgehead project include a mix of apartments and retail. Expect office space to come later. The two new buildings that have construction moving in the inner eastside right now include a 21-story apartment building designed by Portland’s trendy Skylab Architecture and a 10-story mixed-use project that includes Urban Development + Partners and Works Partnership Architecture.

The more progressive-looking Fair-Haired Dumbbell by developer/designer Kevin Cavenaugh of Guerrilla Development has had a bit of opposition from the Portland Design Commission for an office building that resembles a dumbbell in shape with plenty of color to give it a little extra pizzazz.

blog post photo

The dumbbell isn’t the only piece that will turn heads, though. Skylab’s Block 67 apartment tower offers up angularity poised over retail space below. The glass and metal structure has geometric intrigue all the way up. But don’t forget the five-story “podium” beneath, complete with a stair-stepped roof.

blog post photo

With Beam Development already taking an existing building and completely renovating it for use within the Burnside Bridgehead project, as this venture continues on expect an intriguing mix of new, old and quite different. 

Tim Newcomb is Engineering News-Record’s Pacific Northwest contributor. He also writes for Popular MechanicsSports Illustrated and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb or visit his website here.