Construction workers prepare to break ground at the Nishioka Building, offering around 150 micro-apartments, at the corner of State and Commercial streets. (Troy Brynelson/Salem Reporter)
The Nishioka Building, a mixed-use project that could fuel more change in downtown Salem, will break ground on Monday, developers say.
"We're excited. This has been a long time coming and we're excited to work with the city, excited to work with our partners on the project," said Cathy Reines, president and CEO of Koz Development.
The six-story building at the corner of State and Commercial streets could be finished by January 2021, she said. It will offer 148 units with floor plans for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. Public records show most of the apartments will be very small, offering 270 square feet and costing $850 per month to start.
The building will offer 14 parking spaces for vehicles. Meanwhile, it will offer more than 50 spaces for inside bicycle parking, according to planning documents, and each apartment will have storage space for a bike.
The building will also offer ground floor retail space.
By adding roughly 150 new bodies and prioritizing cycling, the Nishioka Building is poised to fuel change in the downtown business district.
"The more people we have living downtown, the more stable downtown is, the more vital and dynamic it is," said Hazel Patton, interim director for the Salem Main Street Association. Patton herself lives downtown.
"When you have people living downtown, this is their home. This is their front yard and back yard. It adds a different level of stability," she said.
Adding housing to the downtown core has been a top priority for city officials. This summer, the Urban Renewal Agency agreed to give a $750,000 grant to the project. The building is also getting a property tax break from the city.
"We think it will change not just the physical landscape of downtown, but the vibe of downtown," said Reines.
The building is named the Nishioka Building after the family who owns the property. It is also being constructed at the former home of McMahan's Furniture & Appliances before a fire decimated that structure in 2006.
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