Developer eyes Lake Oswego's Mercantile campus for new shopping center
CenterCal Properties is responsible for several Portland-area projects, including nearby Bridgeport Village
California-based developer CenterCal Properties has expressed interest in purchasing and redeveloping the Providence Mercantile campus in Lake Grove and moving as quickly as possible to replace the offices and retail shops located there.
Its still very early, Development Manager Alec Paddock told The Review this week, "but weve gotten a lot of good feedback, and our goal is to take that feedback and come up with a plan that meets as many of the communitys objectives as possible.
Representatives from the Waluga, Lake Grove and Lake Forest neighborhoods attended a pre-application meeting between CenterCal and Lake Oswego City staff earlier this month. They say the companys plans focus on a grocery store, retail space and possible office space, although the plan remains conceptual at the moment.
They are investigating the possibility of making a commercial center there, somewhat like Kruse Village, said Lake Grove representative Mike Buck, but the difference would be having a bigger anchor store and a smaller anchor store. Its still fluid right now.
Waluga neighborhood representative Cheryl Uchida confirmed Bucks account of the meeting. She said CenterCals conceptual plan for the Mercantile campus calls for a retail development centered around a grocery store and a pharmacy as anchors, plus two restaurants and additional retail space.
None of the proposed businesses have been named.
The drawings are pretty sketchy still, but theyre showing a restaurant on the corner, and seating on the outside as well as inside, just like Kruse Village, Uchida told The Review. They also have retail shops. Theyve split up the buildings like in Kruse Village, with enough room in between for sitting or hanging out.
Lake Oswego Associate Planner Johanna Hastay said the City urged the developers to also consider a mixed-use development that could include residential space, which would be in keeping with the Lake Grove Village Center plan for the area.
We talked about the Citys vision, and the communitys vision for that property, she said. (There was) some more detailed discussion about storm water, Sensitive Lands, parking, traffic and things like that. But we mostly kept it to kind of a high level, since there wasnt anything very concrete to talk about at that point.
Paddock said CenterCal will consider that option as it begins the next round of design work.
We said it would be something wed look at, he said. Early in the process, we look at all options on all our projects. Thats our initial reaction, and were doing that research as we speak.
Hastay and the neighborhood representatives all said CenterCal was moving forward quickly with the application and development process, and Paddock added that the company intends to move though the process as efficiently as possible without making the City feel rushed.
Hastay said the developer initially contacted the City in early October and is pursuing the project with the goal of submitting a full application to the Development Review Commission in two months. She also said the company has assembled a team of 16 people to help fast-track the work.
They have to put down quite a good deal of unrefundable earnest money by January, said Buck, so theyre trying to get all their preliminary things answered to move ahead.
Those preliminary details include feedback from neighbors, as well as a host of City regulations that need to be incorporated into the application design. Hastay said that a DRC hearing on the completed application would likely not take place until sometime after January, assuming CenterCal moves forward with the process.
Theres still a lot of unknowns, said Carolyn Krebs, who attended the meeting as a representative of the Lake Forest neighborhood. Theyre pursuing a conditional use permit, and to do that, we would want more information. But thats typical at this stage.
CenterCal has built several major retail outlets in the Portland metro area, including Bridgeport Village in Tualatin and Cascade Station near the Portland airport. The Providence Mercantile campus consists of a 6.92-acre property on the southwest corner of the intersection of Kruse Way and Boones Ferry Road, as well as a 1.36-acre undeveloped piece of land on the opposite side of Mercantile Road.
The campus currently contains three buildings, one of which functions as an athletic center; another houses several Providence-affiliated medical offices. The third building hosts a handful of unaffiliated medical offices on the second floor and several independent businesses on the ground floor, including Blue Moon Coffee and Booktique.
All of the existing businesses would presumably be required to find new homes if the entire complex is torn down and rebuilt. Beyond that, however, plans for the current tenants are unclear. Krebs said she was concerned about the potential displacement of the current businesses.
Thats a hard thing to think about, but it goes with redevelopment, she said. I hope theres something that can be done to protect some of those local businesses in there.
Providence notified the businesses in late June that it had begun marketing the campus for sale, and a website developed to advertise the property referred to it as a development opportunity. But no sales price has been announced, and the company did not return The Reviews calls or emails seeking comment this week.
According to Buck and Uchida, the neighborhood association representatives were invited to a second, smaller meeting this month at the companys Bridgeport Village office to discuss the proposal further and make sure the neighbors got a chance to offer feedback.
Even then, Buck said, the conceptual plan wasnt detailed enough to include information about architectural styles, so the neighbors simply offered advice based on the surrounding area.
I dont think anyone wants a duplication of Kruse Village, Buck said, so some variety would be appreciated.
Reactions to the proposal were mixed among the neighbors who attended the meetings, although no one appeared to be unilaterally supporting or opposing the project. Buck pointed to some benefits that could potentially come from the development, including more parking in the busy Lake Grove area and more tax dollars to fund the Lake Grove Urban Renewal District.
Uchida said some of the neighbors questioned the need for a new grocery store, given that there are already several nearby in the Lake Grove area.
We kindly reminded them that we have enough grocery stores all along Boones Ferry Road, she said, from New Seasons down into Tualatin where Safeway is. Why do we need another grocery store? But they feel like that (new) store will draw a crowd.
Krebs expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of new retail in the area, although she said that parking would be a key concern.
Well be paying pretty close attention to parking, she said. Because of other parking issues within Lake Grove, thats going to be an important factor to look at in the application.
In terms of the next steps in the process, Paddock said CenterCal will be focused on continued community outreach while developing a more concrete plan for the site before submitting an application.
Therell be at least one more meeting with City planning staff, he said. Theres also a public neighborhood meeting that needs to take place before an application can be filed. Were always trying to have as much public input as possible, so there might be subsequent meetings prior to that as well.