Developers surface as Troutdale eyes riverfront land
The deal hasn't been signed, but developers are already salivating over the idle acreage to be purchased by city of Troutdale.
"We have engaged in conversations, just preliminary, with four separate developers — three local, one out of state," City Manager Ray Young noted earlier this year. "(They) say, 'Let us know if you settle what's going on out there. We're interested.'"
The land deal, which will likely be approved by April 1, consolidates ownership of a 20-acre parcel that contains the city's defunct sewage treatment plant and a historic sheep rendering pullery. It also appears to spell the end for Eastwinds Development, the company that hoped to transform the site into a destination center with a mix of housing, commerce and tourism.
Local developer Junki Yoshida would bank $2.4 million for the sale of his 7.7-acre portion of the land tucked between Columbia Gorge Outlets and the west bank of the Sandy River.
Yoshida also stands to gain an estimated $50,000 credit for his Troutdale Marketplace, 26942 S.E. Stark Street, which he can use to offset system development charges if he chooses to redevelop the property.
"It's encouraging to finally get to a point where one entity will control the real estate that's in need of redevelopment," testified Finance Director Erich Mueller, "rather than having the two parties stuck in an endless dance that doesn't quite ever move forward."
City councilors voted to approve purchase of the land on a 4-1 vote, with Councilor Larry Morgan voting against. Mayor Casey Ryan was absent and Councilor Rich Allen abstained, citing an ongoing lawsuit.
In October, Troutdale's urban renewal agency took out a $5 million loan that will pay for Yoshida's land and the expected cost of an environmental cleanup of the polluted soil.
City Manager Young has spoken optimistically about the project's prospects, noting that the city doesn't have to start making loan payments for two years.