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Nyberg Rivers closes in on completion

by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Chad Hastings, the general manager of CenterCal Properties, is excited for customers to experience what Nyberg Rivers has to offer come fall.Come September, the construction at the Nyberg Rivers development will be complete.

Cabela’s will be in full swing, Jiggles will be leveled, and the memory of a K-Mart once upon a time will be obsolete.

As the facades of the new properties, which are being developed by CenterCal Properties, continue to take shape, it’s already hard to imagine what it was before. With New Seasons, Home Goods, Cabela’s, L.A. Fitness and several restaurants in the works, the formerly underutilized property will be bustling with entirely new customers.

Even the properties that remain, such as Michaels, Banner Bank and a small strip of stores, are in for facelifts to better match the new, upscale aesthetic.

“This is, in many ways, the entryway to Tualatin,” said Chad Hastings, the general manager of CenterCal. “It’s something to be proud of.”

In addition to the new establishments, Nyberg Rivers will feature a fire pit and kennels where visitors can keep their dogs while shopping. Similar to other CenterCal properties, like Bridgeport Village and Cascade Station, Nyberg Rivers is meant to be a shopping destination and experience.

“This project really is more than retail. It’s a sense of community,” Hastings said. “We really want this to be a beautiful place to shop, hang out and enjoy that will last for years.”

Though many business owners and citizens alike are excited for the development to be complete, some have voiced concerns about the presumed traffic that big-name retailers like Cabela’s might bring. According to the company’s marketing manager Shannon Salyer, people flock from all over the country just to arrive in time for Cabela’s grand openings — the store at Nyberg Rivers is planned to officially open on Sept. 18.

“Expect a couple thousand for the grand opening,” she said at a Meet Your Neighbors Reception last week put on by the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going to bring a lot of people into this community and aware of Tualatin.”

In a city whose residents’ biggest complaint is already congestion, worries about potential additional traffic aren’t without grounds. However, efforts to alleviate these issues have been made by the developers.

“I think there’s a valid concern that when Cabela’s first opens, it may bring in traffic from the region,” Hastings said. “But we’ve been working with the city and (Oregon Department of Transportation) closely.”

A key element in the effort to reduce increased congestion is raising the number of entrances to two and exits to three by the time the stores are up and running. Seneca Street will also be extended from Nyberg Rivers to the lake in the commons, giving visitors not hailing from the freeway a more efficient way to arrive. This extension will be pedestrian friendly, as well, which is hoped to decrease some of the local traffic. Also in the works is a grant that will complete the Ice Age Trail from Tualatin Community Park all the way behind the Nyberg Woods development, which CenterCal also operates. Eventually, the trail will encompass 22 miles between Tualatin, Sherwood and Wilsonville.

Keeping with Tualatin’s rich, prehistoric history, a bronze mastodon sculpture is being created by artist Brian Keith. It will be delivered mid-September and rest on a huge sidewalk area between Cabela’s and a yet unnamed upscale restaurant in the strip. Even more, a children’s book titled “I wonder...” explores what it would have been like for a child to live alongside mastodons. The book is being published by CenterCal, with all proceeds going to charity.

While any project of this size raises concerns and faces challenges throughout, Nyberg Rivers has never veered off track from its September launch.

“We’ve got some great contractors out here. It’s been really smooth,” said Hastings. “Just seeing it take form and seeing a project from the ground up come to life — I’m excited for the customers.”

Also exciting are the 1,700 full- and part-time jobs that the 300,000-square-foot finished development will bring to the area. While increased traffic remains a topic of discussion and was even brought up by Tualatin business leaders at last week’s Meet Your Neighbor’s Reception, only time will tell if the concerns are realized. The one thing everyone agreed on, however? Elation over Jiggles’ departure from Tualatin’s entrance when its lease ends on Saturday.

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