The city of Tigard has agreed to spend $1.3 million to purchase a piece of property on Southwest Burnham Street.

What exactly officials want to do with the site remains up in the air.

The 1.2-acre property, located at 9110 S.W. Burnham Street, is currently home to Ferguson Plumbing.

Tigard’s City Center Development Agency — the governing body for the downtown, made up of members of the City Council — voted unanimously last week to purchase the property.

Sean Farrelly, the city’s downtown redevelopment project manager, said the land was too good to pass up.

“We think that it is a really versatile property because of its size and its proximity to Fanno Creek Park and Main Street,” Farrelly said.

But Ferguson Plumbing has the potential to stay in the building until 2023, under its current lease agreements, Farrelly said. The company could decide to leave earlier.

Farrelly said it’s too early to begin planning what will go on the site, when Ferguson eventually leaves. The site would likely support some combination of apartments and shops, he added.

“A lot of that depends on when the tenent will vacate,” Farrelly said. “We think it’s a good site for residential or mixed-use, or maybe some partial use for public space.”

City officials have said for years that they hope to transform the long struggling downtown into something more vibrant.

Road construction in the area is expected to give a “facelift” to the downtown, and the city has been involved in several other projects in the past few years, including fixing up storefronts, as a way to make the area more appealing.

The purchase will be funded by $1.3 million from the downtown urban renewal district — a special taxing district voters approved in 2006 and re-approved in 2013.

The city has looked for years for space downtown to build a large public plaza, which would serve as the city’s focal point, but has not found a seller.

The Ferguson Plumbing property is likely too small to serve as the plaza, Farrelly said. However, Farrelly believes there would likely be some kind of space outside for people to gather on the property.

“If there is public space in this, it will probably not be only public space, but have some sort of development there to help activate it.”

The real question, he said, is when people will see it.

“It’s still too early to say,” he said.

Tigard has talked about purchasing storefronts for redevelopment before.

In 2012, the city spoke openly about plans to purchase a large building at 12537 S.W. Main St., currently home to Hiller’s Emblem Shop.

The city already owns several properties downtown, including a house on the corner of Burnham Road and Ash Avenue. It also tore down properties on Burnham Road to build a new public parking lot, which opened last year.

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