Despite cloudy skies, views from the unfinished fourth story penthouse units of downtown Hillsboro's latest development were nothing short of impressive during an early afternoon tour last Friday.
Tour participants, consisting mainly of elected officials and Hillsboro city staff, peered over the edge of the building, glanced out above the downtown's storefronts and treetops and snapped photos of the landscape.
"Is that wine country?" one asked, while another cautioned, "Don't lean against that railing!"
The tour, led by project developer Dwight Unti of Tokola Properties, highlighted the components of a two-thirds completed dream, which stakeholders hope will bring life, development and revenue to the city's downtown.
That dream is 4th Main, a transit-oriented mixed-use development in downtown Hillsboro's historic district. The project reportedly cost more than $16 million.
Developer Dwight Unti leads a tour of the 4th Main project in downtown Hillsboro.
During the tour, Unti detailed the various elements of the development, including first-floor retail space, below ground parking and the assortment of rental options. 4th Main apartments will have 16 floor plans, ranging from loft-style single occupancy to three-bedroom units.
"We want to offer variety and choice," Unti said. "That creates a fun diversity, and leans away from just concentrating on popular trends in housing right now. It allows for shifting preferences in the future."
While the project broke ground only a year ago, the property has been jointly held by Metro and Hillsboro since 1998, acquired specifically with the intent to connect a future mixed-use development with the MAX light rail, then in the planning stages.
The development, which encompasses and repurposes a former Wells Fargo bank building, is expected to have 125 residents at full capacity and is located one block away from the MAX Blue Line.
High-density mixed-use development in city centers is highly touted in urban planning dialogue; however, there is hesitancy in the development community to sink funds into groundbreaking projects where few established examples exist.
By leveraging public funds to attract private investment, Metro's Transit-Oriented Development Program, a partner in 4th Main's construction, facilitates high-density residential and commercial developments near transit hubs, hoping to demonstrate their potential as highly livable, successful additions to a community and encourage future like developments.
"We are seeing more demand for urban living," said Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington, whose district includes Hillsboro. "We have this type of development happening throughout our region because that's what people continue to request. Projects like 4th Main help us build 21st century downtowns."
Metro, Hillsboro and other government agencies have combined for about $2 million in investment in the project, including the property purchase, construction grants and urban renewal money.
Bringing new businesses and residents to downtown Hillsboro will add taxes to the city from a site that has been undeveloped for 14 years.
Unti said a waiting list has already formed from people interested in living at 4th Main.
"We're still in the building stages. We can't show people the color of carpet, the paint in the hallways, yet they're calling and saying 'I'm very interested, please put me on the list,'" Unti said. "I'm pretty pleased with the level of interest at this point."
4th Main is slated for completion in November.