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'Time is right' for condos in Beaverton, developer says

Daily Journal of Commerce

November 21st 2011

A 26-acre site in Beaverton, across from the Nike campus, is being billed by one of its developers as the city's "newest destination neighborhood." 45 Degrees Central, named for the nearby 45th parallel, will include 18 acres of residential space, seven acres of commercial space and some green space.

Site and utility work is being completed, and developers are seeking commercial tenants while moving forward with the residential portion of the project. City officials and developers both believe the time is right to add single-family houses and condominiums in the area to attract businesses.

The site was annexed into the city of Beaverton last year at the request of the project's developers. Metropolitan Land Group acquired the residential acreage at that point, and enlisted Myhre Group Architects to create a conceptual site design.

Don Mazziotti, community development director for the city, noted that businesspeople are saying there is a need for more housing for the workforce of "educated people."

"The 320-unit development will create the opportunity for highly-trained individuals to make their home in Beaverton," he said.

The city offered an incentive to developers when the property was annexed by incrementally instituting property taxes on the property. Mazziotti said the move was justified by the project's "economic value."

The project is pitched as a mixed-use development, where walking paths and parks will connect houses on one side of the site to commercial development on the other. The commercial part of the property is owned by a separate developer, Beaverton Mobilodge, which once owned a mobile home park on the same property.

The mixed-use "vision" comes from the site's zoning and its location near the TriMet MAX line, said MLG Vice President John O'Neil. The phased project will start with only residential units.

Site work, or "horizontal construction," is being performed by Northwest Earthmovers and will be finished by the end of the year, O'Neil said. Designs for the condos and houses are in the city permitting process, and O'Neil expects construction to begin on the first ones at the beginning of next year. The developer expects to sell homes as they are completed, as early as spring 2012.

MLG will serve as general contractor, and will bring in major subcontractors through its own process, O'Neil said.

Despite a shaky new home and condominium market, O'Neil said he has reason to believe that new homes will sell in Beaverton.

"This is something we think is feasible from an economic standpoint, based on studies we've done on supply and demand," O'Neil said. "We're confident about the market, but that's something we have little control over for the moment."

Myhre Group Architects principal Don Sowieja, who has led conceptual site design and architecture work for the project, said the firm hasn't done comparable work recently.

"We've had other projects, but not of this scale - it's unique in that way," he said.

The homes designed by Myhre Group range in size from 1,200 square feet to 2,000, and are grouped in clusters of houses and condominiums. The residential area will include a clubhouse area and two parks - one with a playground and one for more "passive outdoor recreation," Sowieja said.

MLG is pursuing Earth Advantage certification for each of the homes, he added.