City will 'request' grocery option in proposals for Block 67
Hillsboro will include a grocery store in its list of suggestions for developers on Block 67 at the behest of local residents.
The city is set to begin accepting developers' proposals for the mixed-use development this week. Formerly the home of Hanks Thriftway, the property at the corner of S.E. Baseline Street and S.E. 7th Street has been among the city's high-profile projects over the last several months.
After an open house in March and work session in April, city officials spent more than a month interviewing partners and developers before releasing findings in mid-July. The Hillsboro City Council participated in a work session Aug. 3.
The deadline for proposals comes at the end of September. City officials expect to review proposals and select a developer by mid-November.
They have four requirements for developers, including market-rate housing, urban design, parking and a developed open space.
City spokesperson Patrick Preston said the open space could be a plaza or a park, but the details of the project won't be refined until after the developer has been selected.
City officials are suggesting — but not requiring — other options, including mixed-income and affordable housing; employment opportunities; a hotel or other lodging; and integration of a small space west of Block 67.
In addition, officials would like to see a strategy to include a "retail and food or small grocer/market component."
According to a city staff report, the makeup of the downtown area won't support another full-scale grocery store. The report lists three primary competitors within a mile of the downtown core. Winco is nearly a 30-minute walk from Block 67, Grocery Outlet a 10-minute walk and Super Mercado Mexico just six minutes. The report also states the downtown area's median income is too low to support a full-scale grocery store like Hanks Thriftway.
But it left room for the possibility of a small specialty food store or for a larger project if the population of downtown Hillsboro continues to grow.
Preston said the city included the request to align with the desires of the community.
Block 67 is one of several city projects aimed at boosting downtown's population. Hillsboro's 4th Main building includes 71 apartments, retail, parking and an attraction — McNally's Taproom — and has been used as something of a blueprint for the Block 67 process.
Correction: The initial version of this story stated the reason Hillsboro left affordable housing off the list of requirements for Block 67 was because of affordable housing investments elsewhere. The investments were private market-rate housing, not affordable housing, and were not tied to the city's market-rate requirement for Block 67.
City officials provided additional context: "Developers can propose adding more affordable housing units, but the City is requiring market-rate housing at Block 67 to address the housing imbalance in the Downtown area, to increase density and activity in Downtown, and to increase the purchasing power of area residents to support existing and future local businesses, including the possibility of a new grocery. Downtown Hillsboro has a housing imbalance where an overwhelming majority of multi-family housing units in the Downtown area are regulated as affordable or priced as such. Only 7 percent of units are market-rate housing built within the last 10 years, and at last check there are no current vacancies at these locations."