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TIGARD, OR-An upcoming administrative hearing should decide the fate of Panattoni’s bid to develop a 150,000-sf class A office project on 7.56-acre parcel fronting Highway 99, near the onramp to Highway 217. Mike Wells, head of the Sacramento, CA-based developers Northwest operations, tells GlobeSt.com it filed a request for the hearing after state Department of Transportation staffers recently denied its application for direct access onto Highway 99.

The property currently holds a vacant training center formerly used by General Motors. Plans are to demolish the structure and develop twin office buildings being designed by Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects Inc. of Portland.

The current owner of the property is Stephen Barasch. Panattoni has a purchase option to purchase the property that is contingent upon site plan approval and a building permit.

Panattoni hasn’t said how much it signed on to pay for the site, but Oregon Title records have the land alone valued at $2.67 million, and the structure valued at close to $1.4 million. Barasch acquired the site in 1994 for $224,000, according to Oregon Title Insurance Co.

Panattoni and ODOT entered into a “collaboration” process several weeks ago in an attempt to work out a solution that would be acceptable to both parties. The process pre-empted a previous planned denial. At that time, Wells said Panattoni would either drop its plans to purchase the property or appeal the decision. “We’ve spent quite a bit of time, energy and money on this, and we think common sense will ultimately prevail,” he said.

Panattoni hired Wells away from Cushman & Wakefield in January 2000 to jump-start its Portland-area operations. It started by acquiring 136 acres in Hillsboro owned by Fujitsu. Wells nabbed the property for $28 million and then immediately flipped 33 acres holding the only two buildings on the property for $24.8 million. Panattoni has since sold off other chunks of the land, and is developing the rest into the million-sf Cornelius Pass Corporate Center.

In addition to the Tigard site, Panattoni has tied up a 55-acre, industrial-zoned parcel on Tualatin-Sherwood Road and entered into a development deal with the City of Portland for another large parcel on the city’s northeastern border.

If Panattoni closes on the Tualatin-Sherwood Road property later this year, Wells tells GlobeSt.com Panattoni will have approved plans in hand for a 600,000-sf corporate park. The property lies several miles southwest of Downtown Portland, about three miles west of Interstate 5. It is split into two parcels: 25 acres owned by the Itel family that make up the northern portion of the site, and a southerly 30 acres owned by brothers Stanley Sharp and Hadley Robbins.

The property it’s working on with the city — 60 industrial-zoned acres along the Columbia River in Northeast Portland — is slated to hold manufacturing space. Wells tells GlobeSt.com has proposals out to two prospects that would meet the employee and salary requirements of the city’s Quality Jobs Program, for which the property is being set aside. When that happens, the city will sell a piece of the property to Panattoni, who will flip it to the manufacturer in the form of build-to-suit for sale or a long term lease.

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