It was a long time coming, but the long-awaited, long-negotiated Beaverton, Oregon downtown re-development project looks like it's finally getting off the ground. Or, more accurately, being torn to the ground. For now, at least.
Any Portland real estate development lawyer will tell you that Beaverton-once a hotbed of local real estate development-has stalled out, much like most of the rest of the state and country.
Now the town is seeking a public/private partnership to kick start the Beaverton economy by redeveloping downtown.
Mayor Denny Doyle broke ground last week on the redevelopment project, near Beaverton Town Square. The project had been previously stalled due to drawn out negotiations with private project developers, until the city decided to invest and prepare the land for development while pursuing a hybrid private/public development relationship.
Doyle tapped Beaverton's contingency fund to free up money for the land purchase price, and city workers are now swinging heavy equipment to demolish several dilapidated buildings on the .84 acre property.
Three potential Oregon real estate developers have expressed interest in the project, according to an Oregonian report.
As an attorney who deals with Portland and Seattle real estate development law, I can tell you that there are still a number of potential pitfalls to overcome before a project of this size gets done.
The concept for the project is ground floor retail and/or commercial spaces, topped with three stories of affordable housing that the City of Beaverton is referring to as "workforce housing."
If no deal is made with a private developer to go vertical, the city could then decide to lease the space or even donate the land.
However, Beaverton hopes that getting a project like this off the ground will not only inspire a private developer / builder partner, but also signal to other developers and the construction community in general that it is time to turn the lights back on, get to work, and invest in the local economy.