by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Construction is underway at the empty storefronts across from REI at The Streets. by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Signs at the entrance to the recently rebranded The Streets. The commercial hub at Northwest Cornell Road and Stucki Avenue has seen some storefront changes since the beginning of the Great Recession, with major retailer Abercrombie & Fitch closing three shops.

But the recent announcement that multinational clothier H&M is set to open a location at The Streets bolsters General Manager Matthew Klutznick’s assertion that the center is thriving. Klutznick points out that 2008 saw the beginning of a downsizing trend among businesses that enjoy household name-level recognition, with many trying to avoid over-saturation and some, like Abercrombie & Fitch, seeking to expand in overseas markets. Still, The Streets is at 94 percent capacity.

Meanwhile, H&M’s move into The Streets this fall is a considerable vote of confidence in Tanasbourne’s business climate.

The Swedish company boasts locations in 43 countries, and has been branching out in the United States since 2000. Oregon’s flagship H&M in Pioneer Square opened in late 2010, and was quickly followed by locations in Clackamas Town Center, the Lloyd Center in Northeast Portland and Washington Square.

According to Klutznick, the slight rebrand was meant to differentiate the 55-store outdoor mall from places like Tanasbourne Central, The Springs at Tanasbourne and Tanasbourne Village.

It was in no way meant to separate The Streets from a neighborhood of Hillsboro that is showing potential for significant growth, Klutznick said.

Still, the subtle rebranding comes in the middle of a significant effort by the city to give Tanasbourne’s business community a more cohesive identity. One of the biggest proponents of Tanasbourne’s individuality is John Southgate, who resigned from his position as Hillsboro’s economic development director last year to become business development director at the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.

“The idea is to help make it a more successful business district for retailers in the area,” Southgate said, “and to connect (businesses) more with the city of Hillsboro, to firm up that relationship between the Tanasbourne merchants and the city of Hillsboro.”

That process has included hosting monthly meetings with Tanasbourne businesses, with Hillsboro city leaders — like the mayor and the city manager — in attendance.

Southgate hopes that Tanasbourne might solidify its identity with a trademark event, similar to downtown Hillsboro’s weekly Farmers’ Market and its Tuesday Marketplace.

Possible rail connections

Colin Cooper, the city of Hillsboro’s assistant development director, describes Tanasbourne as the state’s most successful mixed-use development. Originally developed through Standard Insurance Co.’s purchase of about 1,000 acres in what was then outside of incorporated Hillsboro in the 1970s, the region has long been known throughout the Portland metro area for its shopping.

According to Colin Cooper, assistant development director for the city of Hillsboro, Tanasbourne has reflected trends in “retail evolution” of American postwar culture.

“It went from a strip development to a small covered mall, then a power center, then the lifestyle center at The Streets,” Cooper said. Standard’s initial master plan included commercial, industrial, office and residential zones.

“The plan came to fruition much more quickly than anyone had anticipated,” Cooper said. “It was a 20-year plan that was largely built out in 10 years.”

Cooper is also the project manager of the Tanasbourne-AmberGlen Regional Center Plan, which aims in part to “add more rooftops” in the region — that is, to create more high-density residential developments to support the addition of an estimated 1,000 jobs with the opening of Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center later this year. Cooper reported that the Tanasbourne-AmberGlen area has the potential to add up to 7,000 housing units within the proposal’s 20-year planning horizon.

To facilitate this growth, the plan suggests a significant investment in transit.

“It calls for either the extension of light rail north to Tanasbourne through AmberGlen,” Cooper said, “or the potential for a street car through the district that would connect Tanasbourne and AmberGlen to the regional transit system.”

Hillsboro is involved in a transit study of AmberGlen to explore possible transit alignments, he added.

Tanasbourne already enjoys a favorable placement between what Cooper describes as “the 50-yard line between the Nike and Columbia apparel cluster, and the Intel-anchored Silicon Forest.” It also has a lower hotel vacancy rate than Portland, largely due to tech companies like Intel that welcome employees from overseas for training and temporary assignments. Cooper confirmed that two hotels had been approved for construction in Tanasbourne and are awaiting financing: a seven-story Embassy Suites and a four-story Hampton Inn, which would add up to 150 rooms combined.

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