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PORTLAND-URS Corp. is moving up in Columbia Square. The publicly traded engineering firm has signed a 10-year renewal and expansion lease for 41,000 sf on the top three floors of the 15-story building, which is owned by Melvin Mark Cos. and Downtown Development Group.

URS has been a tenant in Columbia Square since 1990, when it leased just 2,100 sf. Now located in 31,000 sf on the ninth and 10th floors, URS is taking over space previously occupied by Arthur Andersen. It won’t be taking over the top floor until mid-year 2003, however, as Arthur Andersen let KPMG assume that space after it acquired Arthur Andersen’s Portland operations. Arthur Andersen negotiated a lease termination agreement with Melvin Mark for its remaining space. All three floors are connected by an interior stairwell.

URS was represented in lease negotiations by Hans Kemp of The Staubach Co. Scott Andrews provided in-house representation for Melvin Mark.

The deal leaves KPMG with one less option to choose from as it, too, looks to expand and consolidate its operations in town. KPMG subleased the Columbia Square space because it didn’t have enough room to house the former Arthur Andersen employees at Pacwest Center, where it leases the 20th floor and part of another–for now, anyway, as Schwabe Williamson and Wyatt, which renewed its lease this year for floors 16-19, holds an option for the 20th floor.

Some brokers believe KPMG, which needs between 40,000 sf and 50,000 sf, is likely to end up in part of Willamette Industries’ old space at Wells Fargo Tower, as KPMG is represented by Tom Fellman of CB Richard Ellis, who has the leasing assignment for Wells Fargo. KPMG has a handful of other Downtown options, as well, including Unico-US Bancorp Tower. Fellman was not immediately available for comment.

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