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Office space business fields frequent calls from potential Round tenants

The Round at Beaverton Central has something of a reputation around town as a white-elephant development that boasts more 'For Lease' signs than actual working tenants.

However, a glance at the directory in the building anchored by Coldwell Banker Realtors indicates no fewer than 53 tenants - from medical offices to software companies to employment agencies - that call the complex home.

One of the building's entities, Corner Office Inc., which occupies the entire third floor, is actually in the business of leasing executive office space to others. Perhaps surprisingly for the semi-completed Round complex in a still-down economy, Corner Office's phones are ringing.

'We get calls very regularly,' says Erica Drake, leasing agent for Corner Office. 'I give tours almost daily. We really want to get this up and running.'

Operating eight locations in the Portland and Seattle areas, Corner Office provides Class A office space - including secretarial and reception services, conference rooms, office equipment and shipping services - to clients of all stripes.

The company took over the space, formerly known as Beaverton Executive Suites, at The Round in late September, committing to a six-year lease.

Though declining to provide an occupancy rate, Drake says she's added tenants since she came on board and gave a tour to an interested tenant on Tuesday morning. Heart Counseling and Ekon Benefits are among the new tenants who have moved in since the firm set up shop.

Despite the failure of some previous businesses and The Round's mixed commercial reputation, Drake stresses the complex's appeal and potential are hard to beat - in Beaverton or anywhere else.

'The MAX train is right there. It's a beautiful building, a beautiful place,' she says. 'We definitely think it has a lot of potential. Especially when the economy has an upturn and the vacant lots around this place start to fill, this place will be hoppin.' It's just going to take some time.'

Given the marketing challenges Drake, a Tualatin resident, faced at Corner Office's former location at The Tualatin Commons, she's not particularly intimidated by The Round's shortcomings - real or imagined.

'In Tualatin, when we took over, (The Commons) was 30 percent occupied. Now it's at 80 percent. (The Round) isn't nearly as dire.'

Still, she recognizes that The Round's checkered success since its mid-1990s inception is not something businesspeople - particularly from the local area - are going to ignore when looking for new office space.

'People who live in Beaverton know about The Round,' she says. 'When I talk to (potential tenants), I'm prepared to address those concerns.'

Meanwhile, Drake has joined the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce and is doing anything she can think of to help spark further development of The Round and its adjacent properties.

'It was built at the worst possible time,' she says. 'If it had been five years earlier, this place would've been rockin.'

'It'll get there.'