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Yakima Products to buy Lake Oswego's West End Building for $20.1 million

Beaverton-based rack maker plans to move its headquarters by Dec. 1; city negotiating with school district to move Parks & Rec to Palisades Elementary


REVIEW FILE PHOTO - Yakima Products offer for the West End Building is $3.3 million more than the city owes on the property. Beaverton-based Yakima Products Inc. has agreed to purchase the West End Building for $20.1 million, company and city officials announced Tuesday.

The 35-year-old company, which makes roof racks, bike racks, cargo boxes and bags and multi-sport trailers, will move its corporate headquarters and research-and-development operations to the 89,000-square-foot building at 4101 Kruse Way.

“We are thrilled to be making the West End Building Yakima’s new home,” said Ryan Martin, the company’s CEO. “It’s the perfect location for our growing business, and we are excited to have a headquarters that we fully own and can customize to our unique needs.”

Brant Williams, the city’s redevelopment director, said the deal is likely to close sometime in late August. He called Yakima’s offer — which is $3.3 million more than the city owes on the property — “the strongest of the bunch.”

“First off, it was an attractive offer,” Williams told The Review. “Secondly, we believe they’re a good company that would make a good fit here in Lake Oswego. And third, they didn’t require any zone changes.”

Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker agreed.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that Yakima has decided to purchase the property and make Lake Oswego its new home,” Studebaker said. “With its strong brand name and more than 100 quality jobs, Yakima will be a great fit for our community.”

The WEB will more than double Yakima’s North American footprint; its current headquarters in Beaverton is only 37,000 square-feet. Yakima said it plans to occupy 65,000 square feet of the WEB, potentially leasing the additional space until it’s needed to accommodate growth.

Williams said Yakima has agreed to lease back office space to the city for the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership until that project is completed, probably for two years. The city currently is in negotiations with the Lake Oswego School District to relocate the Parks & Recreation Department to Palisades Elementary School; if those plans are approved, department staff would likely begin their move in mid-August.

The LOSD School Board will consider the proposal on Monday night. The City Council will take up the question on Tuesday, when it holds a public hearing on the purchase-and-sale agreement with Yakima. The city currently pays about $1.5 million a year for loan payments, maintenance and operating costs for the WEB. It will pay $15 per square foot under the terms of the lease-back arrangement with Yakima; terms of the deal with the school district were not released.

“Given the historically, mutually-beneficial nature of our partnership, we believe this development will be advantageous to the city, the district and the community,” said LOSD Superintendent Heather Beck. “We are pleased the Palisades facility can be used in such a positive manner while the district continues its long-range facilities planning.”

Williams said that if the council approves the deal with Yakima on Tuesday, the company would then have to “sign the agreement, undergo their due-diligence period and hopefully close somewhere between Aug. 21 and Sept. 13.”

Yakima said Tuesday that it expects extensive interior remodeling to begin in August, led by the Portland architecture and design firm Mackenzie. The company said it plans to complete the move from Beaverton by Dec. 1.

Martin, the company's CEO, said the nearly 14-acre property not only provides Yakima with a campus-like setting, but also reflects the company’s passion for the outdoors and the natural environment.

“With woods in our backyard and a beautiful lake just a mile away, this new location really supports and embodies our love of playing in the outdoors,” he said.

The city has been looking to find the right buyer for the WEB for years. It acquired the property from Safeco Insurance in 2006 for $20 million, with plans to create a community center-of-sorts. But those plans were derailed by the Great Recession, when voter support lagged and the city resolved to put the property back on the market.

Two subsequent offers fell through. A $16.5 million-bid from San Francisco-based Kensington Investment Group, which would have required significant rezoning, fell apart in March 2014; last November, developer Nick Bunick’s lofty plans to house his nonprofit The Great Tomorrow at the WEB — and his $20 million offer for it— disintegrated when his funding failed to materialize.

At that point, the Council agreed to hire the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, a decision that resulted in a dozen sealed bids from a variety of suitors.

In April, community members and some city officials asked the City Council to reconsider selling the WEB. Opponents of the sale argued that the building had become a de facto community center, with Parks & Rec offices, the McKenzie Teen Lounge and significant meeting space. Many also objected to city plans for an expansion of police and emergency facilities downtown, saying the WEB was a cheaper and more centrally located option.

But the council voted 5-2 to proceed — and there may be additional revenue on the way.

The proposed deal with Bunick would have included an adjacent, 1.3-acre parcel just west of the WEB, and the council will consider selling that property when it meets Tuesday night.

“That’s also on the agenda for next Tuesday, “Williams said, “considering a purchase and sale agreement with the Boones & Kruse Limited Partnership to sell that piece of property, too.”

The City Council will hear public testimony on the sale of both properties during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 380 A Ave. The meeting’s full agenda is available online at www.ci.oswego.or.us.

For more information on Yakima, go to www.Yakima.com.

Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or ssorenson@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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