April 8th, 2011 8:50 am | News | Posted In: Business, Housing, City Hall

A New Role for Satyricon's Space

Satyricon screen shot

The reincarnation of the Satyricon site in Chinatown as low-income housing took a step forward this week.

The Macdonald Center and the City of Portland’s Design Commission met Thursday, April 7 to discuss a new use for the spot that featured the iconic punk nightclub before it closed last October.

The Macdonald Center, a local outreach and housing nonprofit, is proposing to tear down the building and to replace it with a seven-story structure with 42 apartments for low-income residents and women who need a safe, affordable place to live.

Attempts to save and reuse the building are too costly, says architect Greg Mitchell.

The six-commissioner panel is on board with the proposal but found several problems with the proposed design, including a lack of storefront canopies.

“The old facade has a charm to it. It’s a delicate balance.” said city design Commissioner David Keltner. “It’s a Frankenstein kind of thing. You’re taking dead buildings and recreating them to make a new kind of thing. I feel very uncomfortable about the hodge-podge [of the design]. You don’t have a clear sense of what time period you’re really in. I support that new construction in historic places should be distinct and different.”

Paul Verhoeven, executive director of Portland Saturday Market, says the neighborhood does not want canopies because they create a great place for the homeless to set up camp. The design commission will revisit any adjustments to the plans on May 5.

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