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January 07, 2012

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If this is accurate, it's a huge mistake by the developers. The Meridian and the River Front are prime examples. It has nothing to do with the real estate market. 295 Church St is completely sold out & full of people, condos, designed well, marketed well. The correct mix use, designed well, backed by good infrastructure will bring in ALOT of revenue, be pleasant to look at and be a buzz of activity.

Chris, I agree. Today I talked with some friends who are knowledgeable about real estate and know quite a bit about local developers.

They said what's happening with Pringle Square is typical of how Mountain West does things: on the cheap, looking for the highest short term return.

We spoke about how Pringle Creek does involve a lot of "sunk" costs. The land cost a bundle. Clearing out the old Boise Cascade buildings is costing a lot. So the development is going to be more expensive than if it was starting from scratch on bare land.

One option, which was the initial commitment of Mountain West, was a high quality mixed-use development which would be a big asset to downtown Salem and the riverfront. It would cost more, but also offer a lot more to the public and potential owners/lessees of the property.

Unfortunately, it looks like Mountain West has shifted directions toward a lower cost, lower benefits model. Get by on the cheap. Attempt to make a profit by lowering costs and offering a mediocre product, rather than building a premium development that would command higher prices.

Like I said, this is sad. Salem is going to be stuck with a riverfront dominated by a cheap-o clunky apartment complex for decades to come.

HEY...I got an idea, How about we build a brand new PAPER MILL there and employ some people !

Yesterday the Statesman Journal had a story about Pringle Square plans being approved by the city. I wanted to capture comments left on this story, before it disappears into the S-J archives, because most make good points about the mediocre design of the development. Story currently is at:
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20120111/NEWS/201110437/Pringle-Square-plan-approved

Here's the comments:
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Anthony Riecke-Gonzales · Haiku, Hawaii
The proposed apartments have a characterless appearance for such a high profile site. Come on guys, you can do better than this. Downtown salem has several buildings with character, just walk around down town. No reason these buildings can't enhance the sense of a unique place for downtown salem rather than urban anywhere.
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Stu Templeman
Nice idea but not real appealing looking. You would think that the designers could create a building that reflects downtown and once was a wildlife refuge called Minto Brown Island until a bridge was built which increased the number of people and eliminated the wildlife.
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Rob Miles · Top commenter · University of Oregon
Assuming they will be "recycling" the old Boise warehouse, I understand the limitations with the design (the somewhat boxy, monolithic look). I think some tweaking of the exterior amendments and staggering of the unit balconies would break up the lines.

Additionally, I agree - the name Pringle Square is square! Eagle View, Heron Crest, or hey...didn't the native Americans used to have a settlement on that site called Chemeketa (you know, our city's namesake, except we preferred a more Christian name like Salem instead of their pagan word)? Call it Chemeketa Crest or Chemeketa Landing.

One thumb up on the design; two thumbs DOWN on the name. The planners might want to talk to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Rhonde about coming up with a name. Perhaps they'd kick in some $$$ on the project and we could have an interpretive center added to that project for locals and tourists to learn about our history.

Nah, never mind..it might remind people that we outright stole all that land in the first place before we wrecked it with an industrial site.
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Lori Lucas · Central High
In the 70's (or somewhere around that time) Salem had a sort of prison looking phase with City Hall, Library and Pringle Park Plaza. Now it looks like it's going to go through the cheap modular building with off set roofs! Why can't we mix it up a bit. I am sure there is more than one architect around here. Unless the one being used has some in that the rest of us don't know about! I also agree with the other postings regarding the character of Salem's buildings. Maybe do a mix of old/modern. One other thing... What's with this stupid height restriction!?!
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David Rehm · Gazing Out the Window at Many places, USA
Pretty ugly stuff there. I don't think adding primary colors to each pod does anything. Seven hundred a month for less than 700 square feet? This will be a tough sell. Stu T. has a good point: Why not build something that reflects the character of the area? Let's see, we'll be overlooking a slough and please, give up on the name Dove Cove. There are no doves. There are Herons, at least there are until the walking bridge is built and everyone's dog takes care of the Heron rookeries and eagle nesting sites. Salem, you are a really weird town.
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Whatson Theare
Congrats to Kirk Sund with CB|Two Architects for the approval. Lets hope the design maintains as time continues. Depending on the const. industry that estimate can go up or down. Lets hope down, so that more trees can be added in the courtyard and maybe some consideration for sunlight for the apartments interior spaces.

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