Beaverton West End District welcomes its first residents
Residents started moving in last week at the Beaverton West End District, a mixed-use development entering the final stages of construction at the corner of Southwest Tualatin Valley Highway and Murray Boulevard.
The 12-building complex has risen over the past year at the site of the old Kmart and attached strip mall, which were torn down to make way for redevelopment. When it's fully built out — the final building is expected to lease in fall 2022 — it will feature 424 units and well over 30,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.
"It's huge," said Cheryl Twete, Beaverton's community development director. She believes it's the largest development of its type in Beaverton's history, featuring both retail and apartment housing.
'You are here'
Something passersby will notice right away about the West End District is its name. It's everywhere, including banners on streetlights and directional signage.
Before it was razed, the site where the West End District now stands languished as a shopping center anchored by Kmart. The store struggled in its last years of life — its vast parking lot mostly empty even at peak shopping hours — before finally going out of business in 2018.
"It was tired. It had ran its life cycle," Twete said. "It was kind of a long, slow death to the business at that site."
Developer Pam Verdadero said she and business partner Fred Gast wanted to make a point of rebranding the site.
"Noticing that area was very underutilized, it gave the opportunity of creating a 'you are here' where you have shops and retail below," Verdadero explained.
That retail space will add to a burgeoning commercial corridor along Murray Boulevard north of TV Highway, also signed as Highway 8.
The old businesses at the Kmart property weren't a total loss. With the complex slated to be torn down after Kmart's closure, Indian restaurant Abhiruchi relocated to the Millikan Pointe shopping center just north along Murray Boulevard. That center also includes a 7-Eleven convenience store, several other restaurants, shops and medical offices.
Just across the boulevard from the West End District, redevelopment late last decade also brought in popular restaurants Carl's Jr. and The Human Bean.
'Main Street' feel
West End District officials hope some of the restaurants and shops that will open on the first floor in eight of the development's 12 buildings will draw visitors from outside the apartment complex, too.
"The retail's going to bring people in," predicted Dixie Thompson, supervising community manager for the West End District, which is managed by C&R Real Estate Services Co.
Verdadero said developers want the West End District to convey a "Main Street" feel.
"We've got a number of restaurants and personal services that will be prominent in that space there," Verdadero said. "We'll have lots of restaurants from all different backgrounds. It's going to be fun."
Each building will have a unique façade, as well as a building name, most of them taken from prominent figures in the history of the Portland metropolitan area, according to Verdadero.
Mixed-use development — marrying ground-level retail with multifamily housing — has surged in popularity, both in Beaverton and beyond, as Twete pointed out.
"I think it's a wonderful reuse," Twete said of the West End District development. "They've done a great job."
Thompson said the idea is that residents can take the elevator down and have a wide range of services available within walking distance, if not in their building itself.
"It's almost a downtown experience without the downtown price, so to speak," Thompson said.
Walkability is a point that Thompson emphasizes. TriMet operates bus routes along Murray Boulevard and TV Highway. The Millikan Way station is a short bike ride or walk from the apartment complex. The German International School is just across Murray Boulevard; Valley Catholic School is just across TV Highway. Major regional employers like Nike, Intel and Tektronix are within walking, biking or busing distance for residents who don't own a motor vehicle.
As for traffic, the developers were required to complete a traffic study, Twete said. She added that it found that the complex won't have a significant enough effect, given its location at the corner of two major arterial routes, to require major road improvements or new traffic signals.
There is a right-in, right-out driveway off Murray Boulevard, Verdadero noted.
The first of the four-story buildings was just cleared for occupancy last Tuesday, June 15. Another is slated to open in August — more than three-quarters of its apartment units have already been leased, according to Thompson — followed by a third in September.
Apartments start at $1,365 per month. All units are rentals.
Thompson said spaces are filling up quickly.
"I have people moving in literally every day this month," Thompson said.
By Mark Miller
Editor-in-Chief, Washington and Columbia counties
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