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WOODLAND, WA-Home Depot is seeking site plan approval for a 95,750-sf distribution facility on 34 acres near Exit 21 off Interstate 5 that it has contracted to purchase from Bob Neville, a major property owner in the area, city and county employees tell GlobeSt.com.

The property, not part of a business park, is located on the southwest side of the southbound exit on Down River Road, which runs parallel to I-5. The warehouse will have a 30-foot clear height and be used to unload inbound bulk merchandise and repackage it for delivery to retail stores “It should be visible from the freeway,” a city building official tells GlobeSt.com.

Home Depot, which operates 23 stores in Washington and 15 in Oregon, recently opened a warehouse one hour north of Woodland in the state capital of Olympia. The company, which is trying to gain more control over its delivery system, previously relied on vendors to deliver product directly to its stores.

The comment period for the city’s review ends April 30. If all goes smoothly, dirt will begin moving this summer, and the building would be completed by the end of the year.

At the end of fiscal 2002, Home Depot utilized approximately 12.39 million sf of warehousing and distribution space, of which approximately 3.16 million sf was owned and 9.23 million sf was leased.

Seven miles south of Woodland in the City of Richfield, a much larger distribution center is underway. Earlier this month, Dollar Tree recently acquired 58 acres at Exit 14 for a 650,000-sf distribution center to serve its stores in the Northwest. Dollar Tree officials project the center to be fully operational by mid-2004.

The facility is the first phase of an eventual 286-acre mixed-use development called Union Ridge, a $430-million project by The Schuck Corp. of Colorado Springs. Union Ridge has generally been planned to include office space, industrial space, a destination shopping center, a hotel, apartments and single-family homes.

Last month, GlobeSt.com reported that 85 acres around the same interchange is changing hands. Portland-based developer Greg Specht is in escrow to acquire 40 acres of industrial land west of I-5 and south of SR 501 and the Port of Ridgefield has acquired 45 acres of industrial land east of I-5 and north of SR 501.

Specht tells GlobeSt.com he is in the process of subdividing the property into 11 lots, and he expects to close on his acquisition from Jack Gainer in May. After that, he will start creating pad-ready sites for Ridgefield Commerce Center, which could accommodate as much as 480,000 sf of manufacturing, warehouse and distribution buildings.

The Port’s purchase adds to 30 acres it already owned diagonally across the freeway exchange, north of Specht’s property. Port Executive Director Brent Grening told GlobeSt.com the port has paid Waldon Groves $2.53 million or $1.29 per sf for the land. Specht isn’t revealing the agreed upon purchase price for his land until the sale is closed, but he did say it will be less than the Port’s.

Specht’s Ridgefield Commerce Center is expected to hold more stand-alone, build-to-suit type manufacturing and distribution buildings while the Port is more likely to go for the brick-and-glass, R&D-type space.

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