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Excitement is building about what the new building will deliver to the downtown core

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - As The Dahlia nears completion, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 10 a.m.

One of the most ambitious downtown projects in Canby history is about to be completed. The Dahlia, a four-story, 56,801-sqaure-foot building that will house 69 new apartments and four new retail/commercial spaces is nearly done. It will celebrate with a Thursday, Aug. 9, ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.

For all involved, the project's completion is a satisfying event.

"I think it's going to be a monumental change for downtown, without a doubt." -Mayor Brian Hodson

"The building is very attractive and we are excited about the quality of the build itself, the quality of the apartments and the overall structure," said City Administrator Rick Robinson. "It's very attractive and will have a very positive impact on our downtown business district.

"We are excited to see it completed and occupied and get the streets around it open again – a normal traffic flow in the downtown," he added.

Mayor Brian Hodson agreed, saying, "I'm excited to see it come together the way it has. I think it's going to be a monumental change for downtown, without a doubt. When we look at how our city is growing and our commitment to keeping a designated downtown area, this is a big key to that component."

Robinson said the project as a whole has "gone really smoothly," and lauded the help businesses in and around the construction project have provided.

"I'm really grateful to the businesses in and around The Dahlia; they've been very supportive of the process," said Robinson. "I know it's been a bit inconvenient during the process – parking took a hit – but they have been very patient and supportive."

Hodson pointed to the work done by Robinson and developer Mary Hanlon as key to pushing the project along.

"I give Rick a ton of credit because he and Mary Hanlon worked really hard on getting this thing going and doing the financial gymnastics it needed, " said Hodson. "It's a $15 million investment in our downtown. She (Mary Hanlon) has invested in Canby and really wants to be part of what's occurring in Canby right now. That's why she really fought to make this happen."

When the complex is officially open, Robinson said the hope is that with 60-plus apartments filled in the downtown area, those folks will help stimulate downtown business activity, as well as attract new businesses "with the realization that they will have customers living right next door." With that, the goal is for others in Canby to see the downtown area increase in activity and want to visit the core more often.

Hodson said he sees the Dahlia as part of a larger, exciting development trend in Canby, citing the theater addition as the first phase, followed by the library/civic building and now The Dahlia.

"I think we're really creating some great synergy downtown," Hodson said.

The city administrator agreed.

"It's a great project and we're excited for it to be completed," Robinson said.

While the apartments are expected to be leased quickly once the building is finished – Hodson said a few leases have already been signed – the ground-floor business component is still be hashed out. Who and what will fill those business openings is still to be decided.

"There's been a lot of interest in that part, but we're still working on some letters of intent in that regards," said Hodson. "I think we're close. We have had a lot of interest by a restaurant group in the old police building. I think we're close to signing some letters of intent on that, too.

"My feeling is that by creating living space downtown with a great walkability within the downtown—that will bring in more people to the downtown core and will create more opportunities for businesses to come downtown."

On another development front, the future of the old Canby Library building is murky at the moment. According to Robinson, an interested party last year decided to back away from moving forward with any projects. That's left the building in a bit of limbo.

After the initial interest in the building was withdrawn, the city decided to hold on with anymore movement for the building at that time.

In a coming executive session though, Robinson and the city council will talk about the empty building and what course the city wants to take moving forward.

They'll discuss the question of, "Are we ready to open the door and ask for requests of interest again," said Robinson.

"Now we'll ask the question of whether city council wants us to go out and market the property," said Robinson.

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