Destined for an odd little plot of land, this condo tower
exists - for the moment - only on paper. But it sheds an interesting light on the city's building approval process. This structure ran a gauntlet of design reviews before finally getting a thumbs-up from the city council. At issue were the building's height and mass. And at particular issue with the Allegro was the developer's desire to transfer unused air rights from other buildings under the height limit elsewhere to allow the Allegra to go over its height limit.
If this sounds odd, rest assured that it happens all the time. In fact, historic buildings sometimes sell their air rights to other parties to pay for building maintenance. Customarily, these air transfers take place within a neighborhood. But in the Allegro's case, the "unused air" to be transferred was from over buildings on the other side of the Willamette River, in the Lloyd District. This trick play was initially nixed by the city government. In response, the developers shrank the proposed twenty-one-story tower to a mere twenty. The shorter building was given a green light, but by then, the economic downturn of 2008 transformed the Allegro's construction to something more akin to an Adagio.
* I'd Buy That for a Dollar: Because the Allegro was sited next to a MAX station with the lowest boarding numbers of any downtown spot, TriMet sold this plot for $1. The thinking being that it'd be worth it to get more people to ride the MAX.