Two weeks ago, we ran a story about how some Irvington neighbors are upset at the "Irvington Squire" condo development at 15th and NE Hancock. Now neighbors are grumbling and shouting that a new townhouse project at NE Tillamook and 11th will be an "out-of-place condo bunker" among Irvington's historic homes.
But unlike the six-story Irvington Squire project, though, the NE Tillamook and 11th project will be only two three-story buildings with 10 condo units, coming in 12 feet under the area's height limits. Also unlike the Irvington Squire project, the townhouse developers are hoping to use the high-end housing to support a good cause embodied in the project's silly name: Tanzamook. The Tanzamook townhouses. With the plan in mind to send the first profits of the townhouse sales (after expenses are paid) to build a school in Tanzania, the developers melded "Tillamook" with "Tanzania" and birthed Tanzamook, which sounds like a fruity flavor of yogurt (Light 'n Zesty Tanzamook) or an evil space creature (Tanzamook the Destroyer).
Architect Ben Hufford thinks the name is as silly as I do. But he explains his reasoning well, "Calling it Tanzamook means a promise you can't go back on. You can't call it Tanzamook and then not support the school in Tanzania." Hufford says that as a progressive-minded person, he has some issues about building high-end developments, so his architecture firm Design Department has been helping out the Tanzanian school for five years. It's located in Iringa, a hilly farm town a seven hour bus ride from Tanzania's capital. "What we would really like to do is every condominium builds a dorm room," he says about Tanzamook, "When you buy a three bedroom condominium, you're actually buying a four bedroom condominium but that fourth bedroom is in Africa." Hufford thinks it's more worthwhile to invest the condo profits in the Tanzanian town than locally because the American dollar can go farther and hypothetically help more people. "For less than the typical real estate fee of a typical condo we can support this school for 100 years," he says.
Here's the look for the Tanzamook:
update: Plus a rendering from Design Department of the opposite side:
They're reminiscent of the new modernist townhouses along N Williams:
The Tanzamook townhouses are going in where a boxy white house with big pine trees sits now on the corner of 11th and Tillamook and its removal explains part of the neighbor's ire. On his blog, neighbor Alan Cordle complained that, "It's terribly backwards in the placement of density before reuse." Architect Hufford promises, though, that the building will be entirely reused--"100 percent disassembled and taken to the Rebuilding Center." Hufford shrugs off the neighbor's NIMBY complaints about the scale of the project, saying, "They're going to be against anything you build, they want smaller numbers and smaller buildings."