Wizer developer begins 'process and preparation'
Patrick Kessi lays out his communication plan as he awaits a ruling from the state Court of Appeals
Yellow tape wrapped around trees and a permit sign posted at the corner of Second Street and A Avenue are the first visible signs that developer Patrick Kessi is moving forward with his plans to redevelop the Wizer Block in downtown Lake Oswego.
Kessi also launched a new website this week and a Facebook page that he says will be updated weekly with the latest project news and construction information. And hes created contact cards to make it easier for neighbors to ask questions or learn more.
What we are doing now is careful and necessary preparation, and going through the required processes, Kessi said. It is preparation and process, not execution.
That means no trees will come down and no deconstruction work will take place at least until the Oregon Court of Appeals issues its ruling on efforts by opponents to block the 290,000-square-foot development.
When we have a Court of Appeals decision, Kessi told The Review, we will responsibly plan for the execution.
Lake Oswegos City Council and the state Land Use Board of Appeals have both signed off on Kessis $93 million project, which would include 207 residential units and as much as 36,000 square feet of retail space on what is officially known as Block 137. All but one of the current shopping centers tenants have been told they must be out by July 31, and Kessi has long maintained that everything is moving forward as planned, including the financing, which is all on schedule.
But the Evergreen Neighborhood Association and Save Our Village have asked the state Court of Appeals to halt the development. Last week, lawyers for both groups told the court in oral arguments that LUBA had disregarded key elements of state law when it affirmed the City Councils decision.
The Appeals Court can take as long as 90 days to issue its ruling, although some observers told The Review last week that a decision could be handed down in as little as two weeks. Attorney Greg Hathaway, who represents the Evergreen Neighborhood Association, said that if the ruling goes against his clients, then we would have to consider the possibility of taking it to the Supreme Court because of the likelihood that any ruling would set a key precedent in land use law.
Another possible complication: Phil Chizum, the owner of The Glass Butterfly, says the lease for his Wizer Block store doesnt expire until Oct. 1, and he intends to keep his shop open until then. Chizum also says his lease includes a quiet enjoyment provision and that he expects to be able to conduct our business in a safe environment for our customers and employees.
Cutting down trees in front of his store would violate that provision, said Chizum, who has posted Store Closing signs on the shops windows. But Kessi insisted this week that if the Appeals Court rules in his favor, he will work around The Glass Butterfly and not disrupt its final weeks on A Avenue.
Our teams will work with the downtown businesses, with the surrounding neighborhoods, with the community at large and the remaining tenant to make sure things go as smoothly as they can for everyone, Kessi said.
To that end, Kessi said that a new website www.timeline-lo137.com went live this week and will feature weekly construction updates and answers to frequently asked questions. A new Facebook page www.facebook.com/timelinelo137 also is up and running.
Also in the works, according to Kessi:
-- The developer will hand-deliver informational flyers to downtown businesses that focus on the potential impact of construction. Fliers also will be hand-delivered to surrounding neighborhoods with construction timelines and other information.
-- Cards will be handed out everywhere and delivered to City Hall with contact information for everyone involved in the construction project. (See Who to Call on this page.) The information will also be posted to the citys website, Kessis website and the developers social media page.
-- Prior to groundbreaking, the developers say they will host an informational booth at the farmers market in Millennium Plaza Park and a Town Hall meeting that will be publicized with fliers and on social media. And a construction office will be housed on State Street to provide easy access to residents and business owners.
We want to be a good neighbor, Kessi said.
Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or email@example.com.
Who to call
Construction project office: 355 N. State St., Lake Oswego
Questions regarding project site: Dan Armstrong, 503-937-9117 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions regarding construction: Matt Baker, 503-937-9117 or email@example.com
Comments or Concerns: Elaine Franklin, 503-819-2647 or firstname.lastname@example.org
media: Elaine Franklin, 503-819-2647 or email@example.com
Commercial/retail leasing: Kathleen Healy, 503-274-0211 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Residential leasing: Julie Hoffinger, 503-248-9371 or email@example.comJW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT