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VANCOUVER, WA-After a three-year entitlement process, Birtcher Real Estate Group SVP Jim Edwards tells GlobeSt.com the company is on track to begin developing 220 acres of the city’s pastureland by mid-year 2004. The news comes a week after the City of Vancouver approved the development agreement for the master planned project as well as a rezone, and the day after the city formally initiated the annexation process.

Edwards says the 46-acre parcel, rezoned from light industrial to general commercial, will eventually be sold off to Alexandria Investments, a Bellevue, WA-based firm that is planning a 500,000-sf retail development that will be called Eastgate Shopping Center. The remaining acreage, minus wetlands and buffers, will be developed into Birtcher Business Center, a one million-sf industrial-flex development that will take an estimated 10 years and $100 million to build out.

The dirt will start moving once the annexation is complete, which is slated for May 2004, says Edwards. The annexation process requires what is referred to as a double-majority petition, which are the signatures of not only a majority of the land’s residents but also by the owners of a majority of the land. The rules don’t mean much in this case, however, as the land is undeveloped and owned by a single entity, the Keller family trust, which has a development agreement of its own with Birtcher. Regarding the agreement, Edwards will only say his firm paid an unknown sum for the right to develop lots on its own as well as sell lots to users and “participate in the proceeds.”

The land is located one mile west of Interstate 205 on Fourth Plain Boulevard. Edwards says Birtcher Business Center will have a feel similar to AmberGlen Business Center, the 213-acre Birtcher development in Hillsboro, OR, but adds that the zoning will dictate more of a single-story, light industrial feel than AmberGlen, which incorporates mid-rise class A office buildings.

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