Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 25th, 2012 at 4:01 pm
(Rendering by Ankrom Moisan Architects)
Here in Portland we've seen many commercial and residential developments that are built with bicycling in mind. Whether they're directly marketed to people who ride bikes, or come with impressive bike parking, catering to Portlanders' love of bicycling is nothing new.
But the Milano Apartments, set to break ground Friday, were actually inspired by — and named after — a bicycle. Seriously.
Kip Richardson, the director of business development for Portland-based Ankrom Moisan Architects got in touch today with news that their new, 60 unit apartment project going up at 105 NE Multnomah Blvd will be named after Bianchi's famous city bike, the Milano.
Here's what Richardson says about the inspiration behind the apartments:
"The project design is inspired by the city of Milan, Italy, which is recognized as a rich cultural center with vibrant nightlife, popular athletic teams, world-class fashion, and a strong culinary heritage. Bicycle-makers Bianchi named one of their most popular urban commuter bikes—the Milano—after Milan based on these attributes. Portland has long been known as one of the best biking cities in the country; and the location of our site places residents at the center hub of major bike routes and public transportation."
Richardson, a daily bike rider himself who rides a Milano that inspired the name, says the apartments are being developed (by Civitas) as work force housing. Their location — near I-5 and straddling the Rose Quarter and Lloyd Center — will be just steps from MAX and bus lines, not to mention the improved bike access that's (hopefully) on its way to either Holladay and/or Multnomah Blvd.
Furthering the bike vibe, Milano will have only 12 parking spaces for cars and about 50 spaces for bikes. They've also designed the bike parking directly adjacent to the lobby and community area for convenient access. The parking mix is all about "encouraging residents to embrace alternative transportation," says Richardson.
"The building design itself echoes European style with clean lines and smaller, more efficient units. It seemed only natural to call this urban, centrally-located, bicycle-friendly development The Milano."
This should come as no surprise to anyone following urban development in Portland. Back in November we shared some choice words about bicycling's impact on housing design and Portland's future with fewer cars by Mark Edlen, CEO of Gerding Edlen, one of the largest developers in Portland. Edlen noted that Portland's "bike culture... is on fire."
The Milano apartments are just the latest sign of bike-oriented development in Portland. With any luck, more bike traffic around this building will give a jolt of much-needed vitality to the streets in the Rose Quarter/Convention Center area.
UPDATED, 1:37 pm on 1/26: The architects got in touch to say the actual number of bike spaces is 91. I have made the correction.