by: John Klicker, A 171-unit condominium and retail development has been approved for the corner of Division Street and 202nd Avenue.

A former hayfield and long-vacant lot along Division Street in Gresham will be taking on a new life as home to a 171-unit condominium and retail complex.

Located on a 7-acre parcel bound by Division Street and Birdsdale Avenue, Springwater Crossing will consist of 32 buildings. The structures will contain six units each with garages or, in some cases, office space on the ground floor and two floors of living space above, said Darrin Stairs, civil engineer with Otak Inc., a planning and architecture firm with offices in Lake Oswego and other Northwest locations.

'All the buildings are designed as residential,' Stairs said. 'For the commercial space, we will eliminate the garages and replace them with commercial or office space. It will be the same footprint, but for different uses.'

The complex will have garages and driveways for the residences as well as additional on-site parking for commercial tenants and customers. Metropolitan Land Group, the property's owner and developer, has not yet announced potential retail tenants.

The city of Gresham approved the development's initial planning permits in June 2006. The project has since moved into the final design phase while grading and erosion control work concluded on the site last October.

Metropolitan Land Group is awaiting additional permits from the city, according to Stairs. Brian Schnell of Metropolitan was unavailable for comment at press time.

Noting that some activity has to take place on the property for building permits to remain valid, Rita Humphrey, public information specialist for the building development division at the city of Gresham, is not sure what is behind the delays.

'It has been on hold for awhile. We don't know why,' she said, adding that it's common for contractors to wrap up excavating and grading work in the fall and resume work in the spring. 'It's possible we'll be seeing a set of plans and moving forward soon.'

With no activity on the site since October, work will have to resume in the next several weeks or the developer will have to file for an extension, Humphrey said.

'Building permits expire. You have to do something to keep them active."

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