The city's purchase of three land parcels in Beaverton's Old Town section will pave the way for what leaders envision as a mix of residential and retail space on a key downtown block.

The City Council last week authorized the purchase of three parcels at the southwest corner of First Street and Lombard Avenue - comprising about 40,000 square feet and a full city block - for $1,070,636.

City officials call the purchase Beaverton's first 'significant' property investment in about a decade.

'This purchase is the first in what I hope to be several strategic property acquisitions to help facilitate redevelopment and to begin bringing the recently adopted Civic Plan to life for our city,' said Mayor Dennis Doyle. 'Property acquisition is a key priority.'

The plan calls for a mixed-use complex of perhaps four stories with commercial or service uses on the ground level and residential housing on upper levels, said Community Development Director Don Mazziotti.

The city is expected to close on the purchase on June 10. The purchase price includes closing costs, which the city will share evenly with the five sellers.

Doyle and the council have expressed interest in establishing 'workforce developments' in the city to accommodate a range of professions above and below the city's median annual income of $66,900.

'We're talking about nurses, police officers, professionals, healthcare workers - normal, everyday people,' Mazziotti said.

The Lombard development could serve as a model for future projects on the block or at other sites.

The workforce concept is consistent with the city's newly adopted Civic Plan for the Central District. The plan incorporates several aspects related to the city's quality of life, economic vitality and community connection, focusing on downtown development, housing, land-use and transportation strategies and innovative financing approaches.

Mazziotti indicated there are three small businesses operated by the property owners on a part-time basis. The owners agreed to handle any relocation costs.

'So the city is not displacing businesses, which are largely part of the ownership of the property,' he said. 'The buildings are quite old.'

The cost of the properties does not include expenses related to removing the structures or surface-soil remediation. No underground petroleum tanks were discovered on the property, but an approximately 60 cubic-yard area is a possible source of contamination from vehicles parked or repaired on the site, according to city documents.

'The environmental reports I've seen to date show no environmental soil remediation needed,' Mazziotti said. 'That was one of the attractions of that site, which is actually three separate parcels.'

The approximately six-month negotiation process with the five different owners went 'very well,' he added.

The city will develop a plan in the next month or two before seeking requests for proposals to develop the property.

'This area of the city has been a council priority for quite some time,' said Cathy Stanton, City Council president. 'It will provide an excellent redevelopment opportunity - this is very good news.'

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