Revamped shopping complex expected to create 400 new jobs

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIA ANDERSON - A $60 million construction project will reshape the Jantzen Beach Supercenter with new tenants and expanded retail space. Shoppers from Portland and Vancouver, Wash., soon will be checking out an array of new retail stores coming to Jantzen Beach Center, where a massive $60 million demolition and reconstruction project has begun.

Edens, the center’s Columbia, S.C., management company, is beginning to roll out its new tenant list for the renovated center. Whether Cabela’s and a Nordstrom Rack will join the roster remains uncertain.

Among signed newcomers will be West Marine, the boating and outdoor supplies retail store that is relocating from Delta Park by late summer. T.J. Maxx, Panera Bread, Ulta Beauty and Lane Bryant will open stores by Oct. 1, says Lyle Darnall, Edens managing director.

After the recession forced the closures of Jantzen Beach’s Circuit City and Linen ’n Things stores, and new competition from Cascade Station, the massive outdoor shopping complex near Portland International Airport and Interstate 205, executives at Edens decided more than three years ago to go big on redevelopment at Jantzen Beach. The plan included 240,000 square feet of demolition (2,500 dump trucks of debris, most of it recycled) and nearly an equal amount of new construction.

“The old (covered) mall needed to get out of the way for something that fronted Interstate 5 that could give consumers a modern shopping experience,” Darnall says. “Target was really the catalyst to make this go. So far, the plan seems to be working.”

Target agreed to vacate its two-story Jantzen Beach location in favor of a new one-level store site occupied by a Barnes & Noble/Starbucks building and a nearby sports bar. The site was cleared and new construction started with Target moving into its new 138,000-square-foot store in October.

“Our sales are right in line with the top 15 percent of Target stores throughout the country,” says Amy Philip, Jantzen Beach Target store team leader. “Black Friday sales were sensational ... holiday sales were one of the best we’ve experienced here.”

Philip says the store is drawing shoppers from Clark County with strong sales in electronics and clothing. And because there’s only one other grocery store on the island (Safeway), the store’s food sales have been strong. Philip said Target has added about 100 new jobs bringing peak employment to 250.

Sales projections bright

Darnall says the intent is to build a retail complex that will “be viable for the next 20 to 25 years.” Sales are expected to increase by $100 million (to $250 million) once the new stores are up and running with the center’s overall new job growth estimated at 400.

To accommodate the center’s redesign, Ross Dress for Less has moved into the old Linen 'n Things space and Best Buy went into the empty Circuit City. Burlington Coat, Old Navy, Staples and Sports Authority remain at current locations.

Darnell says key pieces of the project are falling into place with 75 percent of the new 100,000 square feet locked up with firm leases. But so far, Edens has been unsuccessful in signing an off-price Nordstrom Rack store at Jantzen Beach.

“That’s not for trying,” Darnall says. “We want to see more fashion alternatives here and more reasons for shoppers to come here.”

A Nordstrom spokesman says the company has “nothing definitive” going at Jantzen Beach Center.

Edens also is keeping an eye on the nearby fire-damaged Thunderbird Red Lion hotel site being cleared of debris. Rumors have a 126,000-square-foot Cabela’s sporting goods megastore coming to the location. But Fred Bruning, chief executive officer of CenterCal Properties Corp. says Cabela’s will build a store at the $150 million Nyberg Rivers project in Tualatin.

“Our location would be exclusive to the Portland metro area,” Bruning says. On Wednesday, Cabela's announced plans for a 110,000-square-foot store in the Tualatin development.

According to the latest Portland permit filings, McDonald’s may become the second tenant at the same 13.7-acre Jantzen Beach site, relocating from its current Jantzen Beach location. A permit for the unnamed megaretailer is pending.

Retail outlook hazy

The 56-acre Jantzen Beach retail property is owned by the Michigan Employee Pension Fund doing business as Jantzen Dynamic Corp. Edens, which operates 120 retail malls, mostly on the East Coast, is the operator.

Darnell says his firm has seen improvement in consumer spending throughout the United States in the past couple of years, but this year’s Social Security payroll tax increase is having a negative impact.

“And the memories of the economic downturn of 2008-09 are still sitting around in peoples’ heads, they’re still cautious,” he says.

Edens is keeping its eye on developments related to the Columbia River Crossing I-5 bridge project meant to construct a better link between Washington and Oregon.

“We’ve been involved in the planning ... the design keeps the shopping center in place,” Darnall says. “We support the preferred alternative plan they have put together.”

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