Redevelopment project faces financial obstacle
During a meeting of the Urban Renewal Agency earlier this week, Matt Lorenzen noted that a project with the goal of acquiring and redeveloping the former Motor Sports building for Clackamas River Outfitters and Yo Treats frozen yogurt had been met with a financial roadblock.
"This is not the update we were hoping for," said Lorenzen, project manager for the Urban Renewal Agency and economic development manager for the city of Estacada, during a meeting on Monday, March 19. "The bids that came in were less than favorable."
City staff had expected bids for the redevelopment of the building at 192 S.E. Fourth Ave. to come in between $125,000 to $175,000. However, the two bids that the city received for the project were $258,000 and $377,000.
With these numbers, the loss to the Urban Renewal Agency would be approximately $173,000 when the building was sold again.
The Motor Sports building project would be the first under an amendment to the Urban Renewal Agency's plan that allowed for the acquisition and redevelopment of properties in downtown Estacada. The amendment was adopted last October with the goal of spurring development in town.
Lorenzen shared several reasons for the bids coming in high, including a perception of unknown conditions of the property, a high cost of labor and materials and the size of the companies bidding.
"The bids were from fairly large general contractors," he added. "These are not small companies. They have a large overhead."
Though many agreed the current numbers are not feasible, both Urban Renewal Agency directors and city staff noted that they don't want to give up on the project.
"I would not recommend we proceed with the numbers we have, but I still believe in the project. I don't think we should abandon it in the long run," Lorenzen said.
Director Aaron Gant expressed similar thoughts.
"For this to be near the finish line and to get pulled back, it's difficult to swallow," he said.
Mayor Sean Drinkwine, chair of the Urban Renewal Agency, said that he would like to see bids for the project from local companies.
"I'd like to start to look locally," he said.
The consensus of the agency was to direct city staff to find more bids for the project.
If the sale of the building goes through, both potential tenants have signed a letter of intent to lease in the space. Clackamas River Outfitters has operated at Promontory Park and Timber Park for the past several years, and Yo Treats would be a new business in town.
Additionally, if the project works out, the building's front facade will be reoriented to Main Street.
"There will be doors instead of just a blank wall on Main Street. I think reorienting the building to Main is a big deal," Lorenzen told the Estacada News in a previous interview. "(It's) one positive step toward the improvement of Main Street and making more activity there."