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Full steam ahead for Zupans

Challenges not daunting for new Lake Grove shopping center
by: VERN UYETAKE The structure for the new Zupan’s market is taking shape.

The arising of some key challenges has not dimmed the outlook for the new Lake Grove Village.

Delays in construction have moved back the opening date for the multi-million dollar project until March 2012.

A formidable competitor suddenly arose when Walmart announced it would soon be building a store nearby on Jean Road.

The worst thing that happened was the sudden death of Zupan's founder, John Zupan, in a traffic accident.

Still, developers are confident their project will be a major success that will have a hugely positive financial impact on the entire Lake Grove area.

'As with any project of this scope, we've had plenty of ups and downs,' said Eric Shoemaker of Beam Development. 'But I don't think we've got any huge regrets. We've been extremely fortunate to have a solid development team, supportive neighbors, and tremendous demand for the vision we've worked so hard to create.'

The possibility of a Walmart, of course, has been of great public interest.

'It's potentially a savvy move on the part of Walmart,' Shoemaker said, 'but also one that remains far from being realized. At this point we're simply watching the process evolve along with everyone else.'

The death of John Zupan 'was a terrible tragedy for all involved.' However, his son, Mike Zupan, will proceed as strongly as ever on building the grocery store that will be the cornerstone of Lake Grove Village.

'John's death does not affect our deal or the health of Zupan's Markets as a company,' Shoemaker said.

These obstacles have been easy to overcome because of local enthusiasm for the project right in the heart of Lake Grove.

'It has been overwhelmingly positive - and we can't stress this enough,' Shoemaker said. 'People are just really excited to see something finally happening in Lake Grove, especially on this site.

'It feels like optimism is building and that local residents and business owners are less focused on the negatives (competition with downtown Lake Oswego) and instead are more interested that Lake Grove wants to be going forward.'