SALEM, OR-C.E. John Co. has acquired on of the few pieces of Lancaster Mall it doesn’t already own: the 100,000-sf Montgomery Ward’s building anchoring the northeast corner of the 650,000-sf development adjacent Interstate-5.

C.E. John’s development chief Mark Perniconi tells the Montgomery Ward building will be renovated and likely filled with multiple users and an attached auto center will likely remain as such, but have a new operator. Perniconi declined to detail the purchase price of the Ward’s building and the price was not available through the title companies. Marion county values the land and property at $6.45 million.

Vancouver, WA-based C.E. John owns the mall with Hummelt Development Co. under the name Lancaster Development Company. The duo is finishing up a $17 million makeover of the mall that includes a complete re-do of the interior and several new tenants, including Old Navy, for which a brand new exterior entrance was constructed.

Perniconi says another change coming at the mall will see the 41,000-sf Rite Aid store moved out of the mall and into a nearby, stand-alone building. The space will be backfilled in large part by Linens & Things, which has just signed a lease for 30,000-sf. Other new retailers at the mall include Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, Anchor Blue and Bath & Body.

Other C.E. John-owned retail properties include the 409,000-sf Beaverton Mall in Beaverton, OR, the newly expanded, 80,000-sf Salmon Creek Shopping Center in Vancouver and a recently completed 10,000-sf project at 39th Street and Sandy Boulevard in the Hollywood District of close-in Northeast Portland. The Hollywood project has been leased out to a high-grade Mexican fast food restaurant called Baja Fresh, a Radio Shack, a Subway sandwich shop and a couple of other tenants.

In the office development arena, C.E. John has two projects in the works. It will begin construction next month on Columbia Shores Commerce Center, a three-story, 21,000-sf office building on the Columbia River in Vancouver. The company owns several acres in the area, some of which has already been developed as retail and residential, including the Beaches Restaurant property and the Meriwether Condominiums. Lease rates for the office space will be in the $30/sf range on a full services basis.

Much more unclear is the construction timeline for the would-be 10-story office building at Northwest 10th Avenue and Hoyt Street. The company has design approval for an office building, but started considering residential about the time the office market began softening. “At the moment, I don’t have a clue what will happen with that project,” says Perniconi. “The market isn’t particularly exciting at the moment.”

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