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Marketplace nears completion

California landlord reports attention from potential tenants and some ready to start the move-in process
by: Vern Uyetake, The first businesses are set to move in to the Willamette Marketplace complex in the next few weeks. All construction is slated to be completed within the next month.

The long, wet winter has taken only a small toll on construction of the completely renewed Willamette Marketplace. The first business is set to move in within a couple of weeks.

'We're looking to have all of the construction completed by the end of this month,' said Ernie Knodel, vice president for development at Venture Corp., owner of the center.

Legacy Health Systems is planning in about a week to take over most of the second and third floors of the building nearest the Les Schwab Tire Center.

'A number of the retail tenants will be starting their interior improvements at the end of the month,' Knodel said last week in a telephone interview from his office in the Bay Area of California. 'As they are completed, they will be opening.'

In addition, Pacific West Bank will be moving into its space just after Memorial Day weekend, Knodel said. That space is located in the remodeled building nearest Eighth Avenue and the entrance to Les Schwab.

Among the retail tenants that are already confirmed are Dola Nails (salon) and Fitness Together (gymnasium). They are slated for the ground floor of the three-story building.

In that same large building, there is space for several other tenants as well as a restaurant with outdoor dining patio.

Silk Cleaners will locate in the smaller building nearest the newly remodeled McMenamins Restaurant. Also available in that building is a unique space with a rotunda.

Gaining space in the building closest to 10th Street is another location for the growing Rose's Restaurant and Bakery, while the other 2,500 square feet is currently unassigned.

Rose's flagship location is on N.W. 23rd in Portland, but other restaurants are located in Sherwood, Hillsboro and Vancouver, Wash.

The company recently moved its headquarters to Lake Oswego, and is expecting to open another restaurant in Lloyd Center in July and in the Willamette Marketplace around Labor Day.

'We're very excited to have Rose's coming into the shopping center,' said Knodel. 'The restaurant will be (visible from I-205) in the end cap of that building, with about 5,000 square feet of space and an outdoor patio area.'

Other improvements to the center include a new parking lot and a traffic light at 10th Street and Eighth Avenue/Court.

Barriers to completion on the original schedule included the wet winter weather and unexpected boulders in the parking lot.

Much of the material recovered from the demolition of the previous center was recycled, including asphalt and concrete - which was ground on the site and used in building the sub-base for the new parking lot. The rest of the ground material was hauled to other nearby sites for similar use. Steel and copper also was extracted for reuse.

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

'We're excited with the progress we're making on the center,' he said. 'We're getting a lot of attention on the center and a lot of inquiries from (potential) tenants, now that it is getting completed.'

For more information about Venture Corp., and illustrations of the center, visit the Web site at www.willamettemarketplace.com.