The Cedar Manor Apartments are on schedule to begin leasing out units this week.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Workers put the finishing touches on the Cedar Manor Apartments in Forest Grove. The 28-unit complex is expected to be cleared for occupancy next month, said owner Greg Henes.Apartment-hunters in western Washington County are about to get some new options — quite a few of them, in fact.

The first of a trio of major apartment complexes under construction now in Forest Grove is set to begin leasing units this week. Co-owner Greg Henes said the plan is for all 28 units — mostly two-bedroom apartments, with a few one- and three-bedroom units — to be ready for occupancy by the end of March. There's already been "great interest" from the community in the apartments, he noted, even though leasing hasn't officially started yet.

The complex at 2024 Hawthorne St. is named the Cedar Manor Apartments, for a big cedar tree that the developers left standing on the property, Henes explained.

"I just couldn't get rid of that one," Henes said. "That's got to be 150 years old, I would think. … It's been painstaking to work around that tree and keep it alive the whole time."

Thomas Spears, general superintendent for Five Star Builders on the project, pointed out a number of locally manufactured features, including guardrails wrought in Mountaindale and timber milled by the developers themselves.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Matt Capron from D&D Landscape Services places sod at the Cedar Manor Apartments in Forest Grove."I'm happy — I'll be happier when it's all over," Spears said wryly. He's been working on the Cedar Manor Apartments for close to a year now. "I think it definitely looks nice."

"We went way out of our way to try to match the architecture of the city, the personality of the city of Forest Grove," Henes said, pointing out the apartment buildings' steeply pitched roofs. "I mean, it costs a lot more to build it this way, but I wanted it to be a diamond."

The Cedar Manor Apartments will be joined later this year by the Jesse Quinn development, an apartment building being constructed at the west end of downtown Forest Grove, and the Forestplace Apartments, which will include 192 apartment units, under construction in the 3800 block of Pacific Avenue, east of Ace Hardware.

"My goal was to be done before the other two, and I think we'll be plenty ahead of those," Henes said. "Really, prior to this little spurt, there hadn't been a big complex built here as long as I'd been around — 25, 30 years. And you're probably not going to see (another) spurt like this, I believe. … The 300-plus units coming in right now will fill the void."

Dan Riordan, Forest Grove's senior city planner, said apartment construction is "definitely a positive for the community" as people seek more affordable living options.

"Historically, and over the last 10 years, the majority of our construction has been single-family detached units. Now we're starting to see more apartment construction," Riordan said. "That helps balance the supply of housing, provides alternatives for housing within the city."

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Common areas of apartment units at the Cedar Manor Apartments in Forest Grove, like this kitchen in a one-bedroom apartment, have wooden flooring.Riordan said that before this latest wave, the newest apartments in Forest Grove opened in 2014, at the Juniper Gardens complex for farmworkers and their families. Before that, a handful of multifamily housing units were built from 2007 to 2011, he said.

Cedar Manor is the first major market-rate apartment development in Forest Grove in years, Riordan concluded.

"The projects that are being constructed now are also larger than what we've seen historically," he said, noting the size of the Jesse Quinn and Forestplace developments.

Henes said the rash of new construction has come in response to extremely low vacancy rates in the Forest Grove area, which indicated supply was not keeping up with demand for apartment housing.

"There was a definite need for it," he said.

In general, said Henes, a 45-year veteran of the construction industry, he is seeing a lot more construction underway in Forest Grove and Cornelius lately.

"The city's really had a boom going," he remarked. "I mean, new commercial buildings being built — it's really kind of fun for a change."

Henes Jackson Properties owns the Cedar Manor Apartments. Henes and business partner Clint Jackson own the Banks-based company, as well as Five Star Builders, the general contractor on the construction project.STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - New and old construction stand side by side along 21st Avenue in Forest Grove, where the Cedar Manor Apartments are nearing completion on the corner of Hawthorne Street.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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