Nike’s planned expansion should boost 45 Degree Central, the new 26-acre residential and commercial center rising at the intersection of Southwest Murray Boulevard and Jenkins Road in HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTOS: CHASE ALLGOOD - The 45 Degree Central development being built near Nike's World Headquarters campus should benefit from the company's planned expansion.

When the Metropolitan Land Group first began planning the 360-unit project several years ago, they did not know that Nike would significantly increase employment at its nearby World Headquarters campus. But some of Nike’s new workers are likely to be tempted by the urban style project. It will offer a mix of contemporary homes, restaurants, athletic facilities, eateries, parks and trails — all within easy walking distance of the two new buildings Nike has announced it will build.

“We’ve already had a lot of interest from Nike employees and have made several sales to them. I was just thrilled when I heard the company was expanding so close to us,” said Megan Talalemoto, sales manager for the Crandall Group, which is marketing the homes.

Such spinoff benefits are one reason officials in Beaverton, Washington County and Portland competed for the project. For the record, elected leaders in the communities all say the region wins no matter where Nike expands. But, as demonstrated by the potential sales at 45 Degrees Central, there are local benefits, too. They include additional property taxes Nike will pay on the buildings and land improvements.

“There are ancillary benefits that are important to the morale of the county,” said an insider, who asked not to be identified.

The full extent of those benefits have yet to be revealed, however, and much is yet to be learned about the expansion Nike officials announced last week. The company has released few specifics about its plans, and officials in Beaverton, Washington County and Portland and still adhering to the non-disclosure agreements they signed with Nike earlier.

It is widely known that Nike looked at two sites for its expansion. One was property it already owned on and near its World Headquarters Campus near Beaverton. The other was a parcel in Portland’s emerging South Waterfront neighborhood along the west bank of the Willamette River. The company chose to expand its existing headquarters.

In a rare departure from common economic development practices, Nike apparently did not choose the highest bidder. Both properties are within enterprise zones, which allows the additional property taxes to be excused for three to five years. Nike officials have not yet said whether it will take advantage of that tax break.

But the Portland parcel is also within an urban renewal district, which would have allowed the city to tap other property tax dollars in the area to benefit Nike. In fact, published reports say Portland officials had discussed investing $80 million in new streets, parks and other amenities to attract the company. That kind of money is not available to Beaverton and Washington County officials.

Nike may end up paying for some or all of the road improvements to serve the expansion. The Washington County Commission is allowing Nike to expand its campus to include property the company owns where one of the new buildings will be constructed, but no agreement has yet been announced on who will pay to reroute roads in the expansion area.

Nike officials would not say why they chose the Washington County site over the Portland one. Company spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi would only say it was the “best fit” for the athletic shoe and apparel giant.

Months of speculation

Nike announced its expansion decision in a press release issued last Thursday. It followed months of speculation that began when Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber called a special session of the Oregon Legislature last December.

During the one-day gathering at the state capitol, lawmakers passed a bill allowing the governor to enter into a contract with Nike guaranteeing its current tax structure for 30 years if the company invests at least $150 million and creates at least 500 new jobs in the state within five years.

Nike officials testified that the company needs to expand due to dramatic growth. Since 2007, Nike’s employment in Oregon has grown by nearly 60 percent, and more than 8,000 Nike employees and contract workers are employed at its headquarters off Murray Boulevard and Jenkins Road.

Nike officials have confirmed two locations for the new buildings. One is on the existing campus near the Tiger Woods Conference Center, and the other is east of the intersection of Southwest 158th and Jenkins. Work could begin in late summer or early fall.

Although the bill approved by the special session set the minimum number of new jobs at 500, Nike officials strongly suggested the company needs to hire thousands of additional workers in the near future to meet its needs.

‘Great boost’ to local economy

Nike’s announcement was praised by federal, state and local HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - One of Nike's two new buildings will be contracted on this field just south of the company’s existing company.

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat who represents Beaverton, said she was thrilled with Nike’s decision to expand in Washington County.

“I congratulate the company and all of the local officials who have worked so hard to make this happen. The expansion will be a great boost to our local economy, and it couldn’t have happened without everyone working together,” Bonamici said in a prepared statement.

Kitzhaber said Nike’s decision was “great news for Oregon.”

Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle was visiting Japan for an economic development-oriented conference when the announcement was made. But Randy Ealy, the city’s chief administrative officer in the mayor’s office, said the news is encouraging to city leaders and bodes well for the city’s economic growth.

“It’s pretty exciting news on all accounts. One thousand Nike employees call Beaverton their home, and certainly that number will grow. These are people who shop in our stores, purchase goods in our businesses, send their children to our schools — and it’s a company that, frankly, pays salaries that are twice the state average,” Ealy said. “It’s a good day to be working in Washington County.”

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