West End Building sale, zone change remain in limbo
Council approves extension to agreement with Kensington Investment
The prospective buyer of the citys beleaguered West End Building now plans to create a conceptual plan for the property.
The city council last week approved a 30-day extension to its agreement with Kensington Investment Group, which has offered to buy the 14-acre campus for $16.5 million so long as the city secures a zone change allowing general commercial use.
The Lake Oswego Planning Commission rejected that zone change late last year, citing concerns heard during public testimony Nov. 25 about transportation impacts and the unknown plan for the sites long-term development. The city council will have the final say on zoning in the coming weeks.
Kensington Investments one-month extension is shorter than the company hoped for. It had asked for a 60-day extension to the inspection contingency period, a proposal that would also bump back a deadline for the payment of $150,000 in earnest money to the city.
Councilor Jon Gustafson said he understood why developers would ask for more time, but the city could market the property for a different project, such as a $20 million cancer treatment center with ties to Oregon Health & Science University.
He said Kensington could still work on its development plan and then resubmit an offer to the city.
Councilor Karen Bowerman agreed, noting the city has been paying for the building since October without earnest money.
But Mayor Kent Studebaker said he didnt want to risk losing the opportunity to sell the West End Building.
Last fall, following years of public upheaval over what to do with the 90,000-square-foot building and campus, the city council inked its deal with Kensington to unload the property, purchased for $20 million in 2006 for a community center that was never built.
The prospective developers will still have to apply for permits for their project and go through a review process with city boards, Studebaker said.
The council approved the extension with a 5-2 vote, with Studebaker and Councilors Jeff Gudman, Lauren Hughes, Donna Jordan and Skip ONeill in favor and Bowerman and Gustafson opposed.
Kara Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 503-636-1281, ext. 107. Follow her on Twitter, @LOreporter.
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