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TUALATIN, OR-The city will vote today, Sept. 8, on four appeals with regard to the redevelopment of the Durham Quarry redevelopment, a 29-acre, $150-million endeavor on one of the last remaining pieces of undeveloped land in the Portland area fronting Interstate 5. Opus Northwest of Bellevue, WA and Center Oak Properties of Gresham, OR are the developers.

Of the appeals filed, one has been settled, two have been recommended for denial and one, related to methane emissions at the site, is prompting the Tualatin City Council to recommend what the developer was planning to do anyway–wait on building permits until there is direction provided by the state Department of Environmental Quality. The city council hearing is scheduled for later today.

Bruce Wood, a senior director with Opus Northwest in Portland, OR, tells GlobeSt.com that while his firm does plan to pull a grading permit for the site as soon as the DEQ signs off on a soil management plan, which could be any day now, Opus has never planned to obtain a building permit without approval from the DEQ on a long-term remedy. Moreover, Wood says grading at the site, which will consist of sifting through the dirt and extracing large objects, will benefit the effort to decide on a long-term remedy by helping to establish more information with regard to the methane emissions at the site. “We have several months of grading work to be done before the building permits will be needed,” says Wood. “We have to push around 250,000 cubic feet of dirt.”

Of the appeals that will likely be denied, it is not likely either of them, if appealed to the state Land Use Appeals Board, would lead to a denial of the grading permit, which means the 680,000-sf mixed-use project should be able to remain on schedule. Any appeal of a city council decision probably wouldn’t be decided by LUAB until January 2004.

Last week, the project got a big boost when Crate & Barrel committed to opening its first Oregon store at the project. While Regal Entertainment Group was the first to commit to the project with an 18-screen movie theater, Crate & Barrel’s commitment is a big green light for other retailers to join the project. As a tresult, Wood said last week that tenants for over half of the 464,000-sf first phase will be announced by the end of September.

Opus and Center Oak are acquiring the property from Washington County for $14 million. The development plan is for 40-ft-tall retail buildings wherein mezzanines could be added. A retailer that leases the space could either have 40-ft ceilings or add a second level mezzanine for more retail space, storage or offices. As well, says Wood, a second level space could be leased out to a restaurant that would be accessed through a ground-level storefront. Crate & Barrel will be utilizing a mezzanine level for more retail space.

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