Monday, September 26, 2011


What makes a company successful? For many, the answer is fairly simple: it results from the hard work of those who want to see it succeed the most. For Siteworks Design Build, based in Portland, that person is founder and president Jean-Pierre Veillet. Veillet, who has an educational background in sculpture, started Siteworks Design Build in 1994 as a small operation and focused on doing construction for other designers and architects, however, the company was soon branching out after its creation. Says Veillet, “[Siteworks] hired our own staff and began to see the efficiency of connecting design to construction for the client.” Siteworks now does both commercial and residential projects, but values both equally. “Commercial has tighter time lines, but a clear vision from experienced individuals. Residential is more home spun—like working with a friend,” he explains.
Throughout the company’s continued expansion, one thing is clear—Veillet has always been very much on board with green building. “Every single project of ours has been about being [sustainable].” He also encourages other builders in their green endeavors. “I feel like we need to address the rest of the people and encourage green building at every level of construction, especially because many things are basic enough that every project could be doing it if they had the tools and connections,” Veillet adds. He is so passionate about green building; Veillet even goes as far as to offer a list of reasons—that any company can use—why going green is valuable to the bottom line of a project (see sidebar).
The green revolution that Veillet is a huge part of is clearly evident in Siteworks’ many projects, all of which are now tied to LEED standards and guidelines. In fact, the company completed one of the original LEED projects in Oregon in 2001—the ODE to Roses Building for architect and owner Kevin Cavenaugh. “The [ODE to Roses Building] was a pioneer project that combined the challenges of small budgets, sustainable practices, and design,” explains Veillet. “It was successful on all fronts.”
LEED has clearly become a must for green building, and Veillet says that everything the company does going forward will somehow be tied to it. However, Siteworks excels by going beyond the point systems of LEED, as well as addressing other issues prevalent in design and building. “We still go beyond the point system in many ways that LEED does not quantify,” Veillet says. He adds, “With that said, there are several other non-LEED issues we are addressing in the community, such as affordability and transportation.”
One of Siteworks’ latest projects is the North Williams project, a LEED Platinum mixed-use commercial building, which will include an apartment complex and restaurant space. According to Veillet, one of the goals of the North Williams project was to create a sustainable development model. “It is a no-parking building with bike lockers at the main entry so you can put your bike away before you go up to your [energy] efficient 600-square-foot apartment. We will generate 21 kilowatts of electricity on site with solar [panels]. Our restaurant tenant will be engaging the urban farm principals as well as working with the surrounding community to create jobs and job training. We will be able to grow vegetables and herbs on site,” says Veillet.
So, how does Siteworks market itself? According to Veillet, it is mostly by word of mouth, web advertising, and small ads. However, it is clear that Siteworks’ commitment to the work and the customer is what makes them so successful in a very cut-throat industry. Says Veillet, “The clients need to be able to get what they want and can afford…This is why [Siteworks] is doing so well now. It is less expensive to the client, it is faster to do, and it represents the ability to make every project unique and creative.” He adds, “There is a sense of warmth and comfort to what were doing.” And this definitely equals success for Siteworks Design Build.
President and founder of Siteworks Design Build Jean-Pierre Veillet lays out guidelines out that connect sustainability to the bottom line.
The Bottom Line for Going Green:
• If energy is a concern for the future we need to start building highly efficient building now. The cost of living is not just in the sale price or rent; energy counts every day to the bottom line.
• Design for efficiency and durability to save on maintenance costs therefore saving in the future.
• Save construction cost by not having unnecessary items, such as conditioned common areas.
• By removing an elevator and planning ADA units on the ground floor, you can save construction costs, energy consumption and ADA requirements on the upper floors which saves costs normally passed on to tenants and buyers. Therefore, you are more affordable.
• Giving plenty of daylight to save electricity and making the space more livable save energy and can be more affordable.
• Use concrete floors for durable and dependable lasting structures and finishes. This saves cost on carpeting, replacement and maintenance.
For more information visit: Siteworks Design Build online
by: Megan Cotugno

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Web design firm moving to Northwest Portland warehouse

POSTED: Friday, September 16, 2011 at 03:16 PM PT
BY: Sam Tenney, Daily Journal of Commerce 

An 18,000-square-foot warehouse building in Northwest Portland is being fully renovated by Siteworks for Web design firm ISITE Design.  The building will feature an open-office design, and will also contain 10 directors’ offices, a brainstorming room, kitchen/break room, restrooms with showers for bicycle commuters and a private room for nursing mothers.  The building will also contain a community room for use by local residents, a cafĂ© and incubation space intended to draw a startup tech business.  Work on the project began in June and is expected to be completed in December. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Developers Cater to Two-Wheeled Traffic in Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Christian Ettinger, the owner of Hopworks Urban Brewery here, is a longtime bicycle enthusiast. He grew up riding around the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego, and now owns six bicycles — ”two if my wife is asking” — and races in cyclocross events. So when he decided to open a second brewpub this summer, he settled on a location that reflected his passion: North Williams Avenue, one of the most-used commuter cycling corridors in a city already mad for all things two-wheeled.
Daniel Pasley for The New York Times
Jean-Pierre Veillet, the developer of the EcoFlats complex.
Daniel Pasley for The New York Times
An indoor bike rack at EcoFlats.
Some 3,000 riders a day pass by Mr. Ettinger’s new brewpub, which he calls the Hopworks BikeBar. It has racks for 75 bicycles and free locks, to-go entrees that fit in bicycle water bottle cages, and dozens of handmade bicycle frames suspended over the bar areas.
Portland is nationally recognized as a leader in the movement to create bicycle-friendly cities. About 7 percent of commuters here travel by bike (the national average is under 1 percent) and the city has an ambitious plan, adopted last year, to increase that proportion to 25 percent by 2030.
Until recently, Portland’s bike initiatives focused on improving the transportation infrastructure, said Roger Geller, the city’s bicycle coordinator. But as businesses awaken to the purchasing power of cyclists, “bicycle-supported developments” are also beginning to appear around town, Mr. Geller said. These are residential and commercial projects built near popular bikeways and outfitted with cycling-related services and amenities.
“The change is coming from the private sector,” Mr. Geller said. “Cyclists are a great potential market for businesses that want people traveling at human-scale speed and will stop and buy something.”
The North Williams business cluster, about two miles northeast of downtown, is the most prominent example of this type of development. In addition to the BikeBar at 3907 North Williams, a two-block stretch of the street houses the United Bicycle Institute, which teaches bike repair and frame building, at No. 3961; the Friendly Bike Guest House, a hostel that caters to cyclists, at No. 4039; andEcoFlats, an 18-unit rental apartment building with a 30-unit bicycle rack in the lobby but no dedicated vehicle parking. The BikeBar is on the ground floor of the EcoFlats building, which also has a shower for commercial tenant commuters. At No. 3901 is Pix Patisserie, featuring an on-street bike parking corral, one of 67 that have been installed by the city, typically at the request of businesses owners.
”The vision is businesses oriented toward bicycles,” said John Baxter, the administrator of the United Bicycle Institute.
But not everyone is unreservedly enthusiastic about the district’s new orientation. Located in a historic African-American community, the North Williams businesses are almost exclusively white-owned, and many residents see bicycles as a symbol of the gentrification taking place in the neighborhood.
“North Williams has grown to be a bike neighborhood out of gentrification,” said Debora Leopold Hutchins, the chairwoman of the North Williams Stakeholder Advisory Committee, a group helping oversee proposed traffic changes. Ms. Hutchins, who organizes an African-American women’s cycling group, said she loves cycling. But, she said, “The process has not been inclusive of the people who live there.”
A proposal this summer to remove a lane of automobile traffic for bikes on North Williams set off an outcry from residents. That proposal has been tabled while the city conducts more outreach with the neighborhood.
And as businesses and developers around the city jump on the bicycle bandwagon, other concerns about the fledgling bike-friendly projects are emerging: namely, that there is a bit of “bikewashing” going on as cycling becomes a marketing tool in a city where the vast majority still get around by car.
“People say: ‘I own piece of land. I want to build a bike building,’ ” said Jean-Pierre Veillet, the developer of the $3.4 million EcoFlats complex, which was fully leased within a month of opening last March. “Well, you can’t just throw up a building; you have to go where the bikeways and the people on bikes are going to be.”
Located in North Portland, an area that has one of the highest rates of biking for work trips, North Williams Avenue parallels Interstate 5 and is one of the area’s flattest cross-town bike routes. As a result, “the bike traffic is just phenomenal — it’s just one cyclist after another going by,” Mr. Baxter said.
Mr. Ettinger said he was so taken with the mass of cyclists that he installed a sidewalk bar so patrons could watch what he calls “Cat 6 commuter racing.” (Amateur bicycle racing in America is divided into categories, with Cat 1 events for the elite riders and 5 for beginners.)
Christopher Frick, a Portland real estate agent, said the number of cyclists helped persuade him to convert a duplex he owned last year into the Friendly Bike Guest House, a 2,025-square-foot space that includes indoor bike parking and a 500-square-foot “repair area, bike lock and gear dump.” The guest house is aimed at students enrolled in the United Bicycle Institute.
Other new developments around Portland are acknowledging the city’s bicycle craze. Two miles northwest of the North Williams Avenue district isKillingsworth Station, a 60,000-square-foot mixed-use project built by the Winkler Development Corporation that has alcoves for bike parking on each floor and a bike lobby with a hard floor surface, access to a repair station and easy bike entry. ”You hit a button and the door opens,” said Shawn Sullivan, the development manager for Winkler.
And in Southeast Portland, the national homebuilder D. R. Horton is building a 29-unit condominium complex advertised on city buses as “a whole new kind of neighborhood,” with a picture of a bicycle substituting for the final syllable.
Some view these projects with a critical eye. “Have you seen the ‘Portlandia‘ sketch ‘put a bird on it’ ”? asked Kirsten Kaufman, a real estate agent, referring to the IFC cable show that pokes fun at Portland life. “Well, this is a case of ‘put a bike on it.’ ”
Ms. Kaufman, who has carved out a niche showing clients homes by bike, said the Horton complex lacked sufficient bike storage, especially “for people with cargo trailers who want to run errands on their bike.” The project is located a few blocks from a popular bikeway, the Clinton Street bike boulevard.
Jessica Hansen, a Horton spokeswoman, declined comment.
In addition to the bike amenities, Killingsworth Station includes 57 car parking spaces — one for each housing unit. “It’s an ironic twist,” said Mr. Sullivan, adding that the spaces were a concession to neighbors who did not want residents or visitors at the condominium parking in front of their homes.
As the city presses forward with more ambitious bike transportation projects, some of the contradictions associated with the current crop of developments may be resolved. Ten years ago, Portland pioneered the return of the streetcar, an effort that has since helped generate several billion dollars in private development, including office space, condos and affordable housing. That kind of deliberate “transit-oriented development” has yet to be replicated with bicycles, Mr. Geller said.
But, he said, the city’s Bureau of Transportation is now considering working with the Bureau of Planning on such bicycle-oriented developments, possibly connected to “cycle tracks” — physically separated bike lanes that have some of the permanence of a streetcar line.
Mr. Veillet, of EcoFlats, said the developments on North Williams were a step in that direction. “The bikeway started exploding,” he said. “It was the perfect place for a bike building."

Thursday, September 1, 2011


36 Hours in Portland, Ore.


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