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PORTLAND, OR-Emerson Hardware Co. has agreed to acquire a 2.82-acre property with a 54,000-sf warehouse on it from the Port of Portland for $2.11 million. The hardwood lumber, plywood and flooring products wholesaler distributor will use the property for future expansion of its warehousing and distribution operations, currently located on a neighboring property.

The Port of Portland Commission this week agreed to the sale of the property, known as Warehouse 4 and located at 2303 NW Front Ave. The port’s real estate leasing and sales manager Peggy Krause says the sale was approved because Terminal 1 is no longer a working marine terminal and no longer serves a strategic purpose for the Port. “On the other hand, it’s contiguous to Emerson Hardwood’s headquarters and thus is strategic to their plans to stay and grow in Portland,” she adds.

Emerson Hardwood officials said they would assume the existing lease with Bear Springs Inc., a subsidiary of Western International Forest Products that leases the property, until the lease expires on Jan. 31, 2005. Bear Springs operates a lumber cutting operation in the warehouse.

“We’ve outgrown the capacity of our current warehouse operation and need to acquire additional capacity to facilitate our future growth,” says Chris Mongrain, Emerson’s president and chief operating officer. “We’re very committed to keeping our company in Portland rather than relocating outside the Northwest Industrial Area. If we weren’t able to acquire this site, we’d probably be forced to move out of Portland and Multnomah County.”

In addition to its headquarters and warehousing operation at 2279 N.W. Front Ave., Emerson has Portland wholesaler distributor operations at 3065 N.W. Front Ave. and at 3738 N.W. Yeon St. in Portland, with similar facilities in Eugene, OR and in Seattle and Woodinville, Wash. Founded in 1907 on the same property on which its headquarters operation is now located, the company employs 80 people, 50 of whom are located in Portland.

Mongrain says Emerson anticipates developing several more wholesaler distributor facilities in the near future along the I-5 corridor in Oregon and Washington. “We hope this new acquisition will solidify our corporate presence in Portland for the long-term,” he says.

In conjunction with the sale to Emerson Hardware, the Port Commission also approved a request by the Columbia River Pensioners Memorial Association to buy a 0.3-acre paved section of the Warehouse 4 parcel for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union-Local 8. The Port gave the union a permit to use the area for parking in 1994, along with the first right of refusal to purchase the lot if the Port decided to sell the property. The sale price is $125,320.

The Port expects both transactions to close on or before April 1, 2004, unless extended by mutual agreement with the buyers.

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