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Two big businesses join Subaru

Two developers are in the process of buying 66 acres of land in Gresham Vista Business Park to construct six buildings for prospective manufacturers or distributors.

The projects would be valued at more than $70 million.

Neither developer has tenants for the buildings, but are going ahead with the projects with the idea that they can be filled once they are underway or finished.

The proposed developments reflect two things: the Portland area’s hot commercial real estate market and the small amount of readily available land.

The projects follow the decision by Subaru of America to build a 600,000-square- foot national distribution center on 39 acres in Gresham Vista. That massive building is under construction along Northeast 242nd Drive and expected to open this fall.OUTLOOK GRAPHIC: NADINE ZOOK - After the sale, 105 of 181 acres at Vista Park would be developed.

If the Port of Portland Commission approves the two sales, that means 105 of 181 developable acres in Gresham Vista would be sold.

Specht Development is negotiating with the Port of Portland, which owns the park, to buy 37.3 acres bordering Northeast 223rd Avenue. In a pre-development application to the city of Gresham, Specht said it wants to erect three buildings: a larger one of 427,000 square feet and two others of 120,000 and 108,000 square feet.

The company declined to comment on purchase or construction prices, but based on other Gresham Vista projects, its development should cost about $45 million.

Specht Development is involved in all kinds of commercial ventures in the Portland area, but specializes in undertaking so-called “speculative” building projects before finding tenants.

The company recently finished similar projects along Northeast Airport Way and at the Port of Vancouver, said Todd Sheaffer, president of Specht Development.

It hopes to break ground on the Gresham Vista project this summer and be finished next May, he said.

“Based on what we’ve seen, there’s very strong demand in the marketplace, and there’s a very finite amount of land,” Sheaffer told The Outlook. “We’re very excited about the opportunity.”

Once erected, the interiors of the structures will be left alone and then customized to suit tenants, Sheaffer said.

Tenants most likely would be businesses involved in manufacturing or distribution.

The companies, he said, are those that suddenly find they need to expand or move to the Portland area and can’t wait for the typical 18- to 24-month timeline for projects this size.

Projects on fast track

The other company negotiating with the Port is Trammell Crow, which is also developing the Subaru property. It wants to buy three lots totaling 28.7 acres along Northeast Glisan Street between the vacant Toppan Photomask building and On Semiconductor.

In a filing with the city of Gresham, Trammell Crow said it plans to spend $2.28 million to buy the lots and $32 million to construct three buildings. The buildings would be single story and 188,500, 155,000 and 147,000 square feet in size.OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Two developers are in the process of purchasing 66 acres of land in the Gresham Vista Business Park.

Trammell Crow officials declined to comment on the project because it is still negotiating with the Port.

In its application, Trammell Crow asked that the project be included in the city’s “fast track” design and review process.

It also asked for three driveway connections onto Glisan; two of the buildings would face Glisan, and the third would be on an interior parcel.

The Port of Portland bought land for the business park in 2011 and touted it as one of the largest shovel-ready industrial areas in the metro area. But it struggled to find tenants and sat vacant until last summer when Gresham used $2 million in tax breaks and incentives to lure Subaru.

City officials said they were aggressive with the incentives because it wanted to land the park’s first major tenant.

Sheaffer and Joe Mollusky, the Port’s senior manager of real estate, said having a large, credible tenant such as Subaru helps when it comes to attracting other businesses.

“It’s a big asset to marketing the park as a whole,” Mollusky said.

Sheaffer also credited the Port and Gresham for their work to get projects into Gresham Vista. “The city of Gresham has distinguished itself,” he said.

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