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Photomask building has been unused and empty for 17 years!



OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The former Toppan Photomask building at Northeast 242nd Drive and Glisan Street has been purchased for $5.85 million by a Vancouver developer.A prominent but never-used high tech building in Gresham finally has a new owner and new purpose.

A Vancouver, Wash., developer has purchased the vacant Toppan Photomask building at Northeast 242nd Drive and Glisan Street and plans to transform it into an incubator for online and small manufacturing businesses. The building has been vacant for 17 years.

Pac 1 Property of Vancouver bought the 72,000 square foot building and 12 acres for $5.85 million from Glisan Property Development, a limited liability company belonging to Ohio-based Park Corporation.

The property sits at the northeast corner of the 221-acre Gresham Vista Business Park, which after four years of dormancy is rapidly being developed for warehouse, distribution and manufacturing companies.

The property has an interesting history.

In 1997 DuPont Photomask announced it would spend $75 million to build and equip a plant on 12 acres it leased from LSI Logic to make quartz plates for semiconductor wafers. But an electronics industry recession stopped DuPont from finishing the interior and in 2000 it put the never-used structure up for sale.

In 2005 Toppan Photomask bought DuPont and with the purchase, inherited the empty building. Park Corporation then bought the land from LSI Logic and assumed the building’s lease. In 2013 Toppan walked away from the building and its ownership reverted to Park.

Between 2003 and 2010 the property had at least three high-tech suitors, but none ever materialized.

Now Pac 1 Property will have a go at it.

Based in Vancouver, Pac 1 says it is one of the largest, locally owned and operated property development firms in Southwest Washington, managing more than 500,000 square feet of industrial space. It also has a realty arm, an investment company and a large nonprofit focused on children’s health, education and college scholarships.

“We have several different types of businesses we are mentoring,” said Jordan Farley, project manager. “The growth phase for a small business can be challenging ... we offer them the space they need to grow their business. We’re excited to breathe life into this building and develop it into a thriving innovation hub in Gresham’s business community.”

Farley said Pac 1 has started preparing the building for occupancy by tackling maintenance issues related to years of no use. That process could take at least nine months.

“As the maintenance repairs and updates are being handled, we’re also assessing the building to determine how to best use the space,” Farley said Thursday. “We have several projects in various stages of development that we believe could make good use of the building. But just when those projects could reach the point of moving to the building is unknown at this time. At some point we do see an opportunity to market available space to other incubator companies.”

The property sits inside one of Gresham’s six enterprise zones, which offers 3- to 5-year property tax breaks for companies which qualify. Jonathan Nelson, a Pac 1 spokesman, said the company plans to apply to the city for such an exemption.

City officials are waiting.

“We’re thrilled to see the potential for investment and growth on this once-vacant property,” Shannon Stadey, director of the city’s economic development department, said in a statement. “Our rapid response team is ready and willing to build a supportive partnership with PAC 1 Property as they develop plans for their innovation hub.”

While the property is not a part of the Port of Portland’s Gresham Vista Business Park, it is bordered on two sides by it. Just to the south, Trammell Crow is finishing work on a 600,000 square foot national distribution center for Subaru of America.

Trammell Crow also just purchased 29 acres to the west and plans to construct three buildings totaling nearly 500,000 square feet. Specht Development has also bought 37 acres on the west side of the park and plans to construct three buildings of more than 600,000 square feet.

While the former Toppan Photomask building sat vacant, the Park Corporation kept the building’s lights and heat on and the lawn mowed but never had a tenant. Now it’s just glad the building will be used, said Andy Pihl, a company vice president.

“We’re thrilled,” Pihl said. “These new owners are very good people and will do something good with the property.”

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