Opus Northwest is developing Gresham’s first class A office park on what would have been a very large church parking lot.

After four years of on-and-off negotiations with the New Beginnings Christian Center, Opus’ development director Bruce Wood has not only acquired more than half the group’s 84-acre property for the 800,000-sf Columbia Gorge Corporate Center, he’s won Opus the contract to build the church a huge new complex on its remaining land.

“When I first started for Opus, the church was only selling (20 acres) they weren’t going to need for their development,” Wood tells GlobeSt. “But over the years we’ve been able to talk through the issues, and they made the decision to, rather than build a huge facility with seas of parking, find a higher use that would met their needs and also benefit the larger community.”As a result, for right around the market rate of $5-$6/sf, Opus now owns 54 acres of prime industrial land between Northeast Sandy Boulevard and Interstate 84, in a market that is quickly losing its inventory of valuable, close-in land for office and industrial parks.

As the corporate center’s first project, Opus recently broke ground on an 180,000-sf facility that American Honda Motor Corp. will buy upon completion. Other deals are in the works, said Cushman & Wakefield broker Gary Randles, the listing agent for the project.

As the market demands, Opus anticipates constructing 800,000 square feet of one, two and three-story office buildings that could employ as many as 3500 people on the 54-acre master planned office campus. To attract telecommunications and “dot-com” companies, Opus plans to bring several fiber-optic cables into the development.

Right next door, as part of the agreement, Opus is developing a three-building complex for New Beginnings, which is funding the development with proceeds from its land sale. Opus is currently working with the church to design and build the facility on the southeast corner of the site. A 3200-seat amphitheater/community center and day care are part of the plans.

Wood isn’t talking about the specifics of the development deal Opus cut with the church, but said both Opus and the church are getting a good deal. “I wouldn’t say we’re giving them a break (on the price), we bid everything out,” Wood said. “It was certainly a competitive number, an aggressive deal; the church is approaching this with a very entrepreneurial spirit.”

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