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HILLSBORO, OR-Planar Systems Inc. has signed a build-to-suit lease for a 72,000-sf class A office building under construction in Birtcher Real Estate Group’s AmberGlen Business Center in Hillsboro, located just west of NW 185th on Cornell Road. The 10-year lease deal is valued at $17 million, and is believed to the largest deal this year in the Portland area. The building will be the publicly-traded company’s new headquarters.

Planar, a maker of display systems for applications such as computers and cash machines, is consolidating office personnel currently located in a few different buildings inside and just outside the park. Much of the personnel are currently housed in an aging class B building the company owns in the former Oregon Graduate Center Science Park adjacent to AmberGlen. Planar has not yet decided what it will do with the extra space once it moves into the new building next summer.

Jim Edwards, a senior vice president with Birtcher and manager of AmberGlen, tells it’s a “major gain” for Birtcher because the Planar may very well continue to lease all its existing space in the park to allow for growth. In addition to the science park building it owns, Planar leases manufacturing and office space in the so-called 1100 and 1400 buildings, says Edwards, and some of its leases don’t run out for another two or three years.

Planar’s investor relations guy Stewart Clark says the move was made for several reasons, three of which were image, cost and control. The company prides itself in paying well for hard workers, he says, and wants that image to be reflected in its office space. To upgrade the science park building to reflect that image, however, would have been more expensive than moving one-quarter of a mile into the new space, says Clark. Finally, because it’s a build-to-suit deal, Clark says Planar will be able to control how the building is finished out such that it specifically fits the company’s needs.

Dave Squire of Grubb & Ellis represented Birtcher in the transaction. Greg Hume, president of Hume Myers Tenant Counsel and Planar’s broker in the deal, says being able to stay at AmberGlen was a huge factor, considering it already has manufacturing operations in and around the park. Hume says he began the site search for the company six months ago. “What drove the deal is their existing commitment to other manufacturing and office space at the park,” Hume tells

AmberGlen is a 217-acre mix of 23 class A office and flex-office buildings totaling over 1.3 million sf. In addition to Planar, park tenants include Intel Corp., Integra Telecom, Cascade Microtech, Rational Software and Salomon Smith Barney, among others. The newest Class A building, the 95,396-square-foot 1915 Building, will be completed this month and is still available. The park is around 90% leased.

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