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PORTLAND, OR-The Columbian Building in Downtown Vancouver, WA is on the market. The owner of the new six-story, 118,000-sf building is Scott Campbell, publisher of The Columbian newspaper. The asking price is $41.5 million. Norris Beggs & Simpson has the listing.

Campbell, under the name Downtown Vitality Partners, invested upward of $30 million developing the building for the newspaper, which occupies the four lower floors and was expected to eventually take over the entire building. Now, however, the newspaper is preparing to move back to its former headquarters and the new building is on the market.

Chris Johnson, the listing broker and an NBS executive, tells GlobeSt.com that there are multiple owner-users showing interest in the property, which was constructed by Gerding Edlen Development. “It will allow somebody to gain a presence in Clark County at the foot of the Interstate bridge in a LEED-Gold building for at or below replacement cost,” he says.

Campbell is relocating the newspaper because it cannot afford to pay the rent necessary to cover the debt service on the $30-million development, according to local industry sources and reports by The Columbian. The for-sale listing is reportedly the fall-back option if the space cannot be quickly and fully re-tenanted at a market lease rate.

The newspaper occupies the first four floors in the building, which is located next to Esther Short Park at 415 Sixth St. The top two floors are leased directly by other tenants. If the space cannot be re-tenanted and no buyer emerges, and the construction loan with Bank of America cannot be renegotiated, Campbell may choose to file for protection from creditors under Ch. 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, according to The Columbian. Campbell did not return a GlobeSt.com phone call seeking comment.

One potential buyer is the City of Vancouver, which has been looking to consolidate its operations in the Downtown core, also next to the park. To make it happen, the City has been mulling an expansion of its building at 610 Esther St., a two-story building adjacent to the new newspaper building that currently houses its parks, finance and human resources departments.

Eric Holmes, the city’s economic development director, told The Columbian that its building’s size is very similar to what it has been planning to build, and the asking price, $351 per sf, is very close to what it had expected to pay. “We’re actually very close to issuing a request for proposals for development teams to look at (610 Esther),” Holmes told the newspaper. “But with this new information about the Columbian building being listed, the responsible thing for us to do would be to look at it.”

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