River Park, the massive 109-acre mixed-use development by developer Presidium Group and global private equity firm Partners Group, envisions the construction of roughly 10 million square feet of apartments, offices, hotel, and retail space over the next 10 to 20 years near the intersection of East Riverside Drive and Pleasant Valley Road. It’s a stone’s throw from the ever-expanding Oracle corporate headquarters on the waterfront, and even closer to the future Riverside Station of Project Connect’s Blue Line light rail network — the proposal, once known as “Project Catalyst” for its dramatic change to this region’s urban fabric, is the largest planned development of its kind this close to downtown.
But despite the hubbub surrounding the first appearance of the plan seven long years ago and the approval of its requested zoning changes allowing more height and density at the site in 2019, we haven’t seen any physical evidence of the project moving forward. That could change soon, with a demolition permit filed earlier this month for the roughly 15-acre Tempo at Riverside apartment complex at 4700 East Riverside Drive, which the developers of the River Park plan have owned since 2018. The approximately 252-unit complex suffered extensive damage from the 2021 freeze known as Winter Storm Uri, with its renters forced to relocate in the aftermath and the building now sitting vacant.
The demolition of the complex will clear the site for the River Park project’s first phase, known as Block D, located north of East Riverside Drive between Wickersham Lane and Crossing Place. Based on preliminary plans for the site, this first section of the larger project will contain an apartment building with approximately 370 units, of which an estimated 10 percent will be income-restricted affordable housing for households earning up to 60 percent of the Median Family Income. The Block D site will also contain a pair of office buildings, roughly 12,000 square feet of retail space facing East Riverside, and an acre of parkland near the path of Country Club Creek, which crosses the site.
We don’t have a timeline available for either the demolition at the Tempo site or the groundbreaking of the project’s first phase — all that representatives of the developer are willing to confirm at the moment is that they are indeed seeking to demolish the existing buildings at this property. Still, it’s the first sign of life we’ve seen from this plan in years, and considering its size and scale we’re pretty sure we’re not the only ones interested to learn that River Park is still breathing.