Bobby Seaberg, an apprentice HVAC technician with American Heating, installs a variable refrigerant flow heat pump system on the Mary Ann building’s roof in Beaverton. (Josh Kulla/for the DJC)

Downtown Beaverton is experiencing a rapid transformation.

While a new performing arts center, parks and hotels now dot the city center, residential projects also are joining the area. One is the Mary Ann, a 54-unit affordable housing building being constructed on a half-block parcel near Beaverton High School. Developed by REACH Community Development Corp., the four-story, 55,000-square-foot building was designed by Scott | Edwards Architecture to be Earth Advantage certified. Walsh Construction is serving as the general contractor for the project.

“When we engaged REACH on this and with their partners, the city of Beaverton has been very supportive and very involved through this process,” said Dave Mojica of Scott | Edwards Architecture. “They really wanted this development to feel market-rate.”

A relatively simple building footprint was selected in order to achieve cost-effectiveness. That allowed inclusion of a central HVAC system not often seen in buildings of this type.

“Being as clean and simple with the structure left us with the ability to have more money to spend on quality materials for the interior and the exterior of the building,” Mojica said. “It was really important to us that we’re not cheaping out from a materials standpoint.”

The exterior will have brick masonry cladding on the outside of the “C,” while the interior of the massing will feature warm, copper-toned metal cladding that resembles wood from a distance. Natural wood cladding and canopies will mark the ground floor, which will be distinguished by the lobby and a community room on the east side. Also, there will be a ground-level parking garage.

“It’s generally kind of a simple building diagram there,” Mojica said. “The idea being that creating quality finishes on the interior is something that will hopefully age well with time.”

The project is being paid for via a mixture of Metro bond dollars, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credits. Units will be available to residents making an average of 45 percent of the area median income, said Alec Lawrence, a housing development project manager with REACH CDC.

“It’s all at 60 percent AMI and below,” he said. “The 9 percent (LIHTC) funding helps us achieve some lower, 30 percent rents and then we’re also doing the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program, so for the period that we have that tax credit we’re able to offer even lower rents.”

Ground was broken on the project in June 2020. Despite supply chain complications presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, work is proceeding smoothly and is expected to finish by September, Walsh Construction project manager Brandi Pine said.

“It’s gone really well considering there were so many things with COVID that were unknown when we really got going, plus the wildfires,” she said. “We had a lot of PGE work that we had to put in underground. There used to be the lines there and all sorts of utility lines. I feel all in all things are actually going really well.”

While prices for many construction materials continue to experience volatility, the Mary Ann project team avoided serious cost issues.

“We lucked out,” Pine said. “Our framing prices were up, but not like they are currently, when we were able to lock in our lumber. So, we didn’t end up with any issues on our budget with the lumber escalation.

“We’ve been pretty lucky. I know that for jobs coming down the pipeline there are definitely going to be some changes for sequencing and things like that.”

Currently, crews are installing cabinetry and flooring, as well as painting the top three floors, which feature wood framing. Meanwhile, interior work is taking place on the ground floor, which sits under a post-tensioned concrete podium. Mechanical systems are also being installed from the roof down, and masons are busy installing exterior cladding.

A full green roof will soon be installed atop a structure that is solar-ready but won’t receive any photovoltaic panels right away.

As for the building’s name, it comes from the property being owned previously by the Beaverton School District.

“Mary Ann was the first teacher in the city of Beaverton, and apparently she taught out of a cabin on the lot there on the high school lot,” Mojica said. “So being that it was property that was sold by the school district, they wanted that connection.”

The Mary Ann is a four-story, 54-unit affordable housing development being built in Beaverton by general contractor Walsh Construction. (Josh Kulla/for the DJC)
The Mary Ann is rising on property near Beaverton High School. (Josh Kulla/for the DJC)
Josh Allio, a journeyman HVAC technician with American Heating, installs a variable refrigerant flow heat pump system on the roof of the Mary Ann. (Josh Kulla/for the DJC)
American Heating employees work in the building’s main residential lobby. (Josh Kulla/for the DJC)
The 54 units at The Mary Ann will have either one or two bedrooms. (Josh Kulla/for the DJC)
A variety of floor plans are being used for the Mary Ann apartments. (Josh Kulla/for the DJC)


Original Release

Title: High Aspirations Lead to Project a Cut Above


Author: Josh Kulla

Date: April 27, 2021

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