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Crestview Crossing in the works again

Plans for the once-controversial development, shelved since 2011, will be filed with the city in the coming weeks

Nearly a decade after it was first proposed, the development known as Crestview Crossing is moving forward on the northeastern edge of Newberg.

Thirty-three acres in size, the property is planned to include both residential and commercial development. The residential part will be the work of J.T. Smith Companies, which has been involved since the project’s inception.

In 2011, Jeff Smith of J.T. Smith Co. said the company was looking for another development company to join in on the project.Photo Credit: GARY ALLEN - Rolling hills - The Crestview Crossing development will be located on about 33 acres of land off Highway 99W. The property was annexed into the city of Newberg in 2007 and 2008, but the project was shelved when the recession hit. Now it is back in the works, with plans for residential and commercial development to be filed with the city in the coming weeks.

“We wanted to go out and … see if we could get somebody maybe with a little more commercial experience,” Smith said then.

Enter Gramor Development. Active in the Portland area for about 29 years, the company has joined the project to work on the commercial side.

It’s still early in the process, but the developers have an idea of what they will propose: about 50 single family residences on the northern end of the property, multifamily housing on the west side, and commercial in the other sections.

“We’ve got about 140,000 square feet of retail space and it’ll be grocery anchored,” said Ryan Cain, project manager at Gramor, adding that the grocery anchor will be about 50,000 square feet. “That’s what we’re thinking and that’s what will be on the city’s pre-application.”

These plans are slightly different than what was under consideration in fall 2011, which included 16 residential lots on the northern third of the property and commercial buildings and parking on the southern end.

Gramor plans to initiate the development process within the next month, likely holding a pre-application conference with the city in the first couple weeks of January, Cain said. The conference will lay out the guidelines of what needs to be done for a design review submittal, which Cain said will probably be submitted in March or April, although he added it is all still fairly tentative at this point.

Still, he said the firm is looking forward to working on the project, tentative as it is.

“It’s a great piece of property, it’s the last large commercial site in Newberg on Highway 99W,” Cain said. “We’re really excited about it.”

Development on the property has been in the works since 2006, when J.T. Smith Co. applied for annexation of a lot on the corner of Highway 99W and Vittoria Way into the city of Newberg. The property was part of the city’s urban reserve area and the City Council voted to bring it within the urban growth boundary in early 2007.

When annexation on the first lot came to a public vote in May 2007 it failed to pass, a rarity in annexation votes in Newberg. The voters’ rejection of the annexation came about partly because of a citizen campaign against the annexation, said associate planner Jessica Pelz. The campaign included people holding signs by the side of the road, urging others to vote against the annexation, she said.

That measure failed, but it was brought to a vote again the following November, when it passed. The second parcel of land went through the same process the following year, rejected by voters in the spring and approved in the fall. Two other neighboring parcels of land, extending over to Benjamin Road, were also approved for annexation during that election. These parcels are not part of the current Crestview Crossing development plans, Cain said.

At that point the project was essentially shelved, with no forward movement for years.

“By the time (the annexation) happened the economy crashed,” said David Beam, associate planner for the city of Newberg. “Nobody was doing anything for a few years. Now that it’s picking up, there’s more desire (to get it going again).”

Cain said there were other issues that also delayed the project in addition to the recession.

“We have $4.5 to $5 million of offsite road improvements we have to do,” he said, adding that most of Gramor’s developments typically require less than half that amount.

One of those improvements will be connecting Crestview Drive, which dead-ends just south of its intersection with Birdhaven Loop, to Highway 99W. The city reclassified Crestview Drive in 2007 in an amendment to the Transportation System and Comprehensive plans, and tied the Crestview Crossing development to the extension of the road.

“Crestview Drive is classified as a major collector, so they’re thinking a lot of traffic’s going to be on that road, so they’re thinking it’s going to have to be pretty wide,” Cain said.

As to the tenants who will be coming to the new commercial development, Gramor does not have any names yet but said it will know in a couple months.

Gramor recently completed a development known as Parkway Village at Sherwood, which includes a Walmart and other commercial tenants, and Cain said the success of the retailers and restaurants at that site has given business owners the confidence to consider expanding further out from Portland.

“There’s a lot of people who are interested in this site,” he said. “Newberg’s a growing city and a lot of people realize that.”

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