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PORTLAND-Interest in Oregon’s industrial spaces has picked up in the last four weeks, as five companies have approached state and/or local officials seeking significant chunks of land or available space to ramp up manufacturing and distribution operations.

Combined, these companies are seeking more than 100 acres of land and 600,000 sf of buildings. Better yet, they’re looking to close deals soon in order to be operating by late 2001 or early 2002.

The names of the companies are kept off the email alerts sent out by conomic development officials, and brokers or property owners submit offers based on what detail is provided. That detail points to a lot of activity in the coming months, despite the economic slowdown.

In the most recent alert, sent out Tuesday afternoon, a light manufacturing company is seeking at least 10 acres and as much as 20 acres within 100 miles of Portland for development of a 50,000-sf to 60,000-sf manufacturing facility with 22-foot ceilings, and 4,000- to 6,000-sf of office. The company says it is willing to purchase an existing building or build on green land, but wants to decide on a location by August and be operational no later than March 2002.

The biggest potential deal came in at the beginning of the month. A grocery distribution center is seeking a West Coast location of between 300,000 sf and 435,000 sf. The company says it will construct its own building or adapt a suitable existing structure with over 250,000 sf. If it buys raw land, it would prefer 40 acres. The company wants to decide on a site by September and be operational in 2002.

Last week, another light manufacturing company came to the City of Gresham seeking 22,000 sf. The firm is said to be eying Catellus’ Southshore Corporate Park, a 230-acre industrial park on the northeastern border between Portland and Gresham.

A week before that, a “diversified, multinational firm” came to state officials seeking 50,000 sf of light manufacturing space “to assemble OEM sporting goods for a nationally known brand.” The company wants to decide on a building next month and begin operation in November.

Another company is interested in making a $2 million investment to secure 50,000 sf for the manufacture of wood cabinets. It is interested in a rural location no more than 30 minutes from a commercial airport with direct service to California. It is open to buying an existing cabinet business in order to be up and running in the first quarter of 2002.

The email alerts are generated by the state’s Economic and Community Development Department’s project development assistance program, which includes a project siting assistance effort that churns out the leads. The program is run by Ted Werth, who was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

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