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DURHAM, OR-If Opus Northwest and Center Oak Properties held title to the Durham Quarry already, they might also have in hand several signed letters of intent from the myriad retailers anxious to service the upper-class rooftops in the area and advertise to drivers on the Interstate that runs right by it.

Alas, they do not hold title. Not yet. Opus and Center Oak are deep in exclusive negotiations with quarry owner Washington County to purchase the property in exchange for the right development and a stake in the upside. What Opus has so far offered for the property has not yet been revealed.

Despite the expectations for a January sale agreement, Bruce Wood, senior director for Opus Northwest, tells GlobeSt.com there are a number of different possible outcomes. “They are considering a ground lease arrangement, buying certain parcels, or selling it all to somebody else and splitting the profits,” says Wood. “It could be any of that.”

Regardless, Wood says the plan is to wrap up negotiations by mid-January and this spring begin a year’s worth of site development before breaking ground on 427,000-sf of retail in 2003 and following up with 450,000 sf of office. The project is being marketed as Bridgeport Village, “a mixed-use lifestyle center.”

The retail is the only part Center Oak is really partnering in, “and the demand has been phenomenal, several layers deep, but we’ve had to hold back” says Wood, who is employing Gray & Assoc. as the listing brokers and New & Neville as retail consultants. “We’re getting very close and things look very promising; we’re just now to the point where we are starting to finalize all the agreements. After that we can move into letters of intent with the retailers.”

Opus plans to fill much of the pit with 3,000 underground parking spaces and at grade level develop a blend of one- and two-story retail buildings alongside five-story office buildings with ground-floor retail space. The retail would be filled with a movie theater, a grocery store, restaurants and both big name upscale chains and original retailers.

“Nearby Washington Square is a very, very successful center and out of space,” says Wood, explaining the reasons for demand beyond an average household income of close to$90,000 within a five-mile radius of the property and tens of thousands of cars passing by daily on Interstate 5.

“Furthermore, this type of unique village center is very popular right now; it’s the evolution of retail,” he adds. “Only 25 or so have actually been built around the nation and they have been very successful. That success has led people to look at this project.”

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