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City picks Main Street developer

The new 'Town Center' project across from City Hall will be developed by the same firm that built North Main Village
by: submitted, An artist's rendering of Kemper's planned Town Center development in downtown Milwaukie.

Main Street Partners, LLC, which delivered the North Main Village project in downtown Milwaukie, has emerged as the preferred developer for a new mixed-use project along McLoughlin Boulevard.

'We asked all interested developers for a development program, a design and a financing plan,' said Metro Councilor Brian Newman. 'The citizen advisory committee and the project management group thought that Main Street Partners provided a strong submission on all three counts.

'The other submissions may have been strong in one or two of those categories, but not all three.'

Lying directly across Main Street from city hall, the one-acre site is presently a paved parking lot, and has served as the temporary home of the Milwaukie Farmers Market during the summer months. Co-owned by the city and the Metro regional government, the western half of the property was the former location of an Olson Brothers Texaco station.

Following an open house held last month to gather comments from the public, the nine-member citizen advisory committee gave the nod to Main Street Partners. That decision was subsequently affirmed by the project management group, which includes leaders from Metro and the city.

On April 11, the selection will go before Metro's Transit-Oriented Development Steering Committee for its approval, to be followed by a vote of the Milwaukie City Council on April 17. If both bodies vote in favor of accepting Main Street Partners as the project developer, a detailed set of negotiations will begin.

'We're just taking the next step forward,' said Newman. 'We're not at the end of the process - we're just in the middle. These negotiations can take between six months and two years. The goal is to have them complete and start construction by next summer.'

Headed by developer Tom Kemper, Newman believes that Main Street Partners bid was bolstered by his success with the North Main Village project.

'I think that helped him submit a much more detailed and realistic proposal,' Newman said. 'I think what really put him over the top was that his financial plan was very strong and very detailed. Tom's a veteran - he knows the Milwaukie market and what's going to be required to build a project there.'

One unique feature of the proposal is that it includes a profit-sharing clause that would benefit the project's public sector partners, provided minimum sales and leasing targets are met.

The proposed development includes 76 town homes and condominiums, as well as 10,000 square feet of retail space along Main Street, in addition to 6,000 square feet of office space along McLoughlin. Prices for the residential units are expected to range between $235,000 and $295,000.

As planned, the project will also include 80 parking spaces for residents on the first floor.

'When North Main got started, we had just one interested developer,' said Newman. 'When we announced this project, we had eight or nine developers interested, and three of them came forward with proposals. That just shows how much more interest there is in Milwaukie than there was a few years ago.'