Marketplace looking at spring opening

by: Jim Hart, 
P&C Construction employees continue work in the incessant Oregon rain with hopes of completing all of the buildings in the Willamette Marketplace shopping center by the end of March.

Even though winter weather has reared its ugly head in Oregon, construction work continues daily on rebuilding the Willamette Marketplace shopping center in historic Willamette.

The complex of retail, service, medical and office spaces is scheduled to be complete in late March, according to Ernie Knodel, vice president for development at Venture Corp., owner of the center.

Knodel says the construction company is making good progress, and everything is on schedule - even in the inclement weather.

'We're trying to do everything we can,' he said last week in a telephone interview from his office in the Bay Area of California. 'But the weather hasn't been very friendly to us.'

Currently, the building closest to Eighth Avenue is being remodeled, and the outside shell of the building closest to the freeway off-ramp has been completed. In addition, workers are trying to finish the shell of the three-story building in the center of the complex. And another building, located just west of McMenamins, has just been started.

A number of businesses have signed to lease the new space, including some small retail businesses, office condominiums, a large medical clinic, a couple of restaurants and service establishments. But there are still spaces available, and Knodel is working with business owners to fill all of them by March.

'Riverside Cleaners (currently in a trailer near the construction site) will come back in,' Knodel said. 'We have a couple of major restaurants, a personal trainer, tanning salon, and a couple of small take-out food establishments.'

Remodeling to McMenamins also has been completed, with the roof replaced and exterior painted to match the rest of the complex. Before the center is finished, McMenamins will have a new outside patio area near 10th Street, Knodel said.

A traffic light also will be installed at the intersection of 10th Street and Eighth Court/Avenue.

Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects (AMAA) has designed a shopping center that blends with other buildings in the area, Knodel said, and yet is distinctive.

'It's really shaping up nicely,' he said. 'It is going to look very classic.'

For more information about Venture Corp. and an AMAA architect's graphic rendering of the complex, visit the Web site at www.willamettemarket