Development continues apace in Forest Grove
Construction is humming along in Forest Grove, where two major apartment complexes are nearing completion, new shops are opening and more commercial buildings could be on the way.
The Forest Grove Economic Development Commission got an update Thursday, July 12, at its meeting at McMenamins Grand Lodge on some of the projects going on right now in the city — including a presentation on the downtown Jesse Quinn Apartments, where construction wrap has come off in recent weeks to reveal a modern-looking building nearing completion.
"Everywhere you look, we've got construction going on," said Jeff King, Forest Grove's economic development manager.
Tokola Properties, a Gresham-based development and property management company, is preparing to welcome tenants to the Jesse Quinn at 1837 Pacific Ave. as soon as Sept. 1, according to Tokola Vice President Jeff Edinger.
"We really believe in our product and what we're giving to our residents," Edinger said.
Edinger also commented on his company's satisfaction with both working with the City of Forest Grove on the building and being part of the downtown area.
"We've put significant investments into the communities that we come in," Edinger said. "I mean, this is no small feat here. And it's very important for us that the community is invested, too — not just the city, but the community. So we were very excited to see that, and we've experienced that from the beginning."
James Draznin, who chairs the Economic Development Commission — the group advises the Forest Grove City Council on business-, workforce- and economy-related issues — said he thinks the near-complete Jesse Quinn "looks great."
Edinger is proud of the project, he told commissioners.
"It's a beautiful building, and it's right there in your historic core," he said.
Along with some ground-floor retail space, the Jesse Quinn will boast 78 apartment units once complete, ranging from studio- and loft-style apartments to family-size, three-bedroom units.
"With these units, there'll be an addition of about 120 to 140 new residents living downtown," Edinger said. "So that's increased pedestrian activity, that's people spending money at local businesses — that's going to attract new retail services."
In fact, Edinger noted, that has happened already even with the Jesse Quinn still under construction. Kafe, a coffee, tea, toast and pastry shop owned by the same family behind downtown Forest Grove restaurants Pac Thai and Bites, opened in May at 1832a Pacific Ave., across the street from the apartment building.
The Jesse Quinn itself was originally expected to open earlier this year. (Two other apartment complexes in Forest Grove, the Cedar Manor Apartments on Hawthorne Street and the Forestplace Apartment Homes on Pacific Avenue east of Ace Hardware, began occupancy in the spring.) However, Edinger acknowledged, the labor market has contributed to delays on the project.
"It is extremely difficult to find labor," he said.
Meanwhile, the opening of new shops at the Stonewood Center commercial complex — located in between Forestplace and Ace Hardware — is also running a little behind schedule, but one or two could begin business as early as next week, King said.
Andrew McCormick, store manager at Sherwin-Williams, told the News-Times the tentative plan for the paint store at 3650 Pacific Ave., Suite 101, is to open mid-week, possibly Wednesday, July 18.
Forestplace itself is still partially under construction, as King noted. Notably, the 192-unit apartment complex is still working on its clubhouse, with an expected completion date in November.
Stonewood could also see some new construction sooner rather than later, King said. Developer A.C. "Buzz" Avery told the News-Times last month that he has plans for three more commercial buildings on the property, including both retail and office space. A family-style restaurant is among the business types being sought in a second building, according to King.
In the downtown area, a new gift shop called Daniela's on Main officially opened Wednesday, July 4, at 2036a Main St. King noted that building has undergone renovations.
Renovations are also underway around the block from Daniela's at Main, at 1932 21st Ave., the storefront of Coffee House in the Grove. Along with the coffee shop, the building will be the new home of popular downtown restaurant New Chinese Cuisine once it re-opens. Although the re-opening date was originally set for this spring, that project has also faced significant delays.
What comes next in Forest Grove after this current wave of development is yet to be seen. A number of residents have expressed interest in seeing a second grocery store join Safeway in Forest Grove, although what store that would be or where it would be located is unclear.
The City Council received the results of a feasibility study conducted by Portland-based Johnson Economics in February that suggested there is no "immediate opportunity" to bring a second grocery store to town, but that within five to 10 years, that could change.
The Economic Development Commission has suggested that the City Council convene a task force to look more closely into the issue.
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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