Going Street Commons: Fall 2017 Updates

A lot’s been happening since our last get together and we continue to get closer to making Going Street Commons a reality. Here’s what we’ve been up to since our August 1st open house and over these last few months:

The design team submitted the first draft of our planned development application (PDA) on August 23rd and we just got our first round of feedback from the City this past week. We worked with our civil engineer, AKS engineering, and our landscape architect, Caitilin Pope Daum, to outline all the building coverage, erosion control plans, life safety, landscape, setbacks, roads, as well as water, sewer and electrical infrastructure required by the City. Completing this land use application is a critical next step in our timeline and the start of a 120-day approval process. Once the land use approval is in our hands we can then submit our building permits to the City.

Birdsmouth designers Jonathan Lundstrom (left) and Ben Valentin look over Going Street Commons preliminary designs with landscape architect, Caitilin Pope Daum in April, 2017. 

Birdsmouth designers Jonathan Lundstrom (left) and Ben Valentin look over Going Street Commons preliminary designs with landscape architect, Caitilin Pope Daum in April, 2017. 

To fully complete our application, we need to finalize our property line adjustment (PLA) with the neighboring property at 4919 Northeast Going Street. In order to do this, the existing red garage and greenhouse deconstructed and the foundations removed as they are within 10 feet of the future property line. This triggered a number of requirements from the City prior to removal of the buildings: having an arborist-approved tree survey and tree root protection plan, installing construction and tree root fencing per the approved plan, uncovering and decommissioning an old cesspool on the property line, having an erosion control plan approved by the City and installed along the perimeter of the entire future property, notifying the neighborhood about deconstruction, posting the fencing with the required notices, removal and decommissioning of an existing oil tank, materials staging areas defined and approved and geotechnical engineering work done for proper infilling of the old cesspool and foundation areas.

Once all the above requirements are met, they must be inspected and approved by the City. We have passed our tree protection and erosion control inspections, so technically we are now able to start the deconstruction and foundation removal, which will begin this week. Additionally, a fair amount of physical work has also been done to clear overgrown blackberry bushes and various debris from the site.

Concurrently with the PDA and PLA, we have been working on the design development stage of the building architecture. Basically, this is the nuts and bolts of fleshing out the schematic design, including the preliminary energy modeling, solar site studies, schematic structural engineering, elevations, sections; all of which required building code review. Construction details such as window install; wall, roof and floor assemblies as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing are also a necessary part of the schematic design process. Our goal is to have these plans developed to the permit set stage by the time the PDA is approved so we can immediately turn around and submit for building permits in late January. Once the permit set is complete, we can then create construction documents while the buildings go through the approximately three month permitting process. We plan on having the construction documents ready by the time the building permits are issued to enable construction shortly thereafter.

Birdsmouth Founder and CEO Josh Salinger discussing the Going Street Commons Development with community members at an August 1st open house. 

Birdsmouth Founder and CEO Josh Salinger discussing the Going Street Commons Development with community members at an August 1st open house. 

Meanwhile, we’ve been working on our project pro-forma and fleshing out the costs for all of the fees, charges, site work and building costs. Additionally, we’ll be getting bids for the sitework and all of the fees rounded up these next few months. Once we have a design development architecture set we can then start putting real numbers to the costs of the buildings. We will also start addressing materials choices such as siding, flooring, roofing, cabinets, fixtures, options for storage, upgrades and islands for the N units. We hope to address these items as early as November or December. Once we have all of this information in hand we will be much closer to having final pricing available for the units along with some renderings of the individual homes.

We continue to work with our real estate acquisition attorney, CPA, and capital markets broker/banks to detail the funding mechanisms for Phase 2—the building phase happing in June 2019. We will be sure to share this information with you as it becomes available as this is a critical step in the funding of these future homes. We continue to receive encouraging feedback from our advisors and consultants regarding the financial aspects of the project.

Recently we received a considerable investment from one of the future homeowners, which is a great show of support for our future community. We are still looking to round out investment for Phase 1 with an additional two hundred thousand dollars. We have now raised one million, five thousand dollars to date and are within striking distance of closing out this first round. Thanks to all that have shown support for Going Street Commons. If you know anyone looking for investment opportunities, please call us at (503) 753-9692, visit the GSC website and watch the video (above left) to learn more. We look forward to talking with you soon. 

Going Street Commons Open House

Please join us on Tuesday, August 1st at Old Salt Marketplace for an open house presentation about the community at Going Street Commons. It will be a forum for interested future homeowners, current investors, and interested parties. We will provide beer and wine along with an array of Old Salt appetizers and dishes. We will be presenting the latest on the buildings, the site, timeline, availability, investment opportunities, and fielding any questions you may have. 


We hope to see you there!

Floor plans are ready to view!

The design team at Birdsmouth has been plugging away at designing the future Net Zero Energy homes and we are finally ready to publish the floor plans! The homes will be 1,758 sqft with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a large flex space. The main floor of the units—designed with accessibility in mind—includes a master ensuite on the first floor and plenty of open living, dining and kitchen space. The additional two bedrooms and bath as well as a loft space and porch awning are key features of the second floor.  

Please take a look and let us know if you have any questions. We hope to have interior and exterior elevations along with some views of the site available for viewing in the next few weeks. For those interested in potentially purchasing a home, please email us at info@goingstreetcommons.com or call (503) 753-9692. We look forward to hearing from you!

Going Street Commons: Spring 2017 Updates

This past week our team met with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Development Services for the important pre-application meeting to advance our Going Street Commons (GSC) project. Accompanied by AKS Engineers and Landscape Architect, Caitilin Pope Daum; we discussed our plans for developing the future Passive House community in Northeast Portland’s Cully Neighborhood and to seek compliance with the city bureau’s required policies. Here we go through the good and not-so-good to come from our meeting. 

Let’s start with the not-so-good: Unfortunately, our original plan of 12 homes on the 1.3 acre site has been cut down to 11. Due to the City’s current zoning requirements the ADU we were hoping for will not be permitted. Having one less unit to sell potentially makes it more challenging to recoup on development costs. Additionally, we found out that one of our proposed driveways (which included two parking spots) will not be permitted.

Now for the good news: We previously had three forms of architecture for our homes—one for the ADU, one for a smaller single family, and one for the larger single family homes (the duplexes are intended to be two of the larger plans attached on the short wall). Since the ADU is no more, we’re now able to condense our plans down to just two separate forms—saving us costs on design and engineering.

Also, it’s looking like we may not need to build a stormwater swale along the frontage road as previously planned. After locating a manhole on Going Street (along the south end of the site), it appears that we may be able to hook into the existing stormwater sewer system. Not having to design and build a swale and other related frontage improvements would be very good news as it could make up for much, if not all, of the lost revenue from the aforementioned ADU.

We'll know if we can take full advantage of this after our upcoming pre-concept meeting with the City of Portland’s Public Works. We’re crossing our fingers and hope to have a concrete answer in the next few weeks.

Other good news: By modifying our design we were able to move the bike structure and an additional storage unit—previously planned as a home attachment—to now be part of the community building (see pictured in below site map). This move will help us free up more green space around the home while further centralizing amenities for the entire community.

What to look for next: In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing floor plans for the single family homes and duplex homes. Along with the layout of these beautiful, high performance homes; you will get to see further details such as light coming in through the windows and views of surrounding green spaces and community gardens. After the floor plans are published we plan to host a second investor’s meeting, likely near the end of June or early July.

The GSC project continues to roll forward on schedule. In fact, we recently sent the Cully Association of Neighbors our notice for the GSC’s forthcoming plan development application. We look forward to working with the association and we invite you all to follow our progress as we design and build this diverse community of durable, comfortable, healthy and extremely energy efficient homes.

For those interested in potentially purchasing a home, please email us at info@goingstreetcommons.com or call (503) 753-9692.  We look forward to hearing from you!


Creating a Zero Energy Community: Going Street Commons

Going St Commons-Birdsmouth.jpg

We’re excited to announce the future development of 11 certified Passive House homes on 1.3 acres in NE Portland’s Cully neighborhood! Going Street Commons (GSC) is an ambitious project designed to have a very small ecological footprint and to provide diverse community spaces while fostering a more sustainable built environment. 

Our goal for the GSC project is to realize a model for zero energy housing that is replicable throughout the Cascadia region and beyond. The planned development will feature a combination of market rate homes and at least one permanently affordable unit in a community land trust. In addition to meeting the Passive House (PHIUS+) standard, we’re designing each home to achieve Earth Advantage’s highest level of certification, Net-Zero Energy Ready (EA-ZER).  

Building to these rigorous performance standards is our most viable way to reach the City of Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan goal of reducing local carbon emissions by 80 percent (below 1990 levels) by 2050, with an interim goal of a 40 percent reduction by 2030. To reach these milestones, the plan maps out three key objectives (pictured right) specific to building energy use.  

Currently, the building sector accounts for nearly half of all carbon emissions in Multnomah County. We can do much better. Going Street Commons is our way of showing we can reduce carbon emissions from building energy use by drastically improving energy efficiency. 

After purchasing the acreage in November of 2016, Oregon LLC Stewart Socially Responsible Investment (SSRI)—Co-Founded by Josh Salinger and Carolyn Fine—hired Birdsmouth Construction to perform the GSC site planning, management, architecture and building. SSRI has also formed crucial partnerships with Earth Advantage and Proud Ground (a local nonprofit promoting affordable housing). This past January, Josh—also Founder and CEO of Birdsmouth and one of Oregon’s first certified Passive House builders—invited members of the Cully Association of Neighbors together for an informational meeting to discuss his goals and intentions for the property. 

Throughout GSC’s early development and design process, Josh is working closely with our Architect Jonathan Lundstrom (Certified Passive House Consultant) and Designer Ben Valentin (Certified Passive House Builder and Consultant). “One important aspect that makes this project exciting to me,” says Ben, “is that we’re providing new housing concepts for Portland that will have a positive impact on the health and comfort of their occupants while creating a community that will minimally impact the energy used by our built environment.” 

As with any large-scale project, the GSC development does offer its difficulties. “One of our biggest challenges is achieving our desire for a diverse social and economic community,” says Jonathan Lundstrom. “There are a lot of City fees assigned to new construction in Portland which add to the cost of construction and therefore add to the purchase price of each home.” 

The large lot, near 49th and Going Street, is currently occupied by a vacant home and garage, with large Douglas Fir trees dotting the property. “After performing many site studies,” says Ben, “we settled on a concept for a site plan that seems to work best for preserving existing trees while creating attractive community spaces for our buildings.” 

To ensure a successful and sustainable tree preservation plan we’re working with arborists, Honl Tree Care. Others helping with the site development include Landscape Architect, Caitilin Pope Daum; Civil Engineer, AKS Engineering; and Alder Geotechnical Services. 

“One of the other main challenges we've faced has been locating and orienting these building concepts on the site plan to best take advantage of the sun's energy, while preserving the trees that will potentially block the sun,” says Ben. “Determining the buildings' position, in addition to their window sizes and locations, will have a crucial impact on the performance and experience of these homes.” 

As the GSC development progresses, we invite you to follow our team as we design and build this community of durable, comfortable, healthy and extremely energy efficient homes. In doing so, we hope to create a model for future development that respects people, communities, and the built and natural environment. We look forward to sharing more about this exciting project as we move forward. 

For those interested in potentially purchasing a home, please email us at info@goingstreetcommons.com or call (503) 753-9692.  We look forward to hearing from you!