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New retail development planned in Woodburn


by: TYLER FRANCKE | WOODBURN INDEPENDENT - The headquarters of Siamak's Car Company LLC, 777 N. Arney Rd., as seen Friday. The property's general manager said it is probable the business will relocate to Salem in the coming months.A Portland-based development company with historical ties to Woodburn Premium Outlets is eyeing a new, large-scale construction project just south of the mall.

Preliminary site plans, filed with the Woodburn Planning Department, indicate that the project includes three new structures that, combined, will offer a total of approximately 40,000 square feet of commercial and office space. The applicant, Deacon Development Group, has also proposed the addition of 254 parking spaces for the property.

The project would require the removal of the only commercial building currently on the site, now occupied by Siamak’s Car Company, which has a monthly lease on the space.

The new development would include a large anchor store, as well as several smaller shops and restaurants. Though Jim Hendryx, Woodburn’s economic and development services director, acknowledged that there has been no shortage of grist for the rumor mill regarding what new businesses the project may bring to town, including Panera Bread (a representative of which recently had preliminary discussions with the city), nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

“We hear from a lot of different people, but all of it is talk until we get something official,” he said.

Pete Snook, principal and representative of Deacon, echoed as much. Though he confirmed that the development will facilitate a mixture of retail and food services, he was unable to provide any names pending the finalization of contract agreements.

“We were looking for services that weren’t available in the mall or the general area,” he said. “So when you make the trip to the outlet mall, we wanted to have services that complimented the trip.”

The design of the development is also intended to complement the mall aesthetically.

“When we talked to the design people, we wanted it to have some continuity (with Woodburn outlets), but not copy them,” Snook said. “And we believe we’ve done that.”

Though Deacon was not the developer for any part of Woodburn Premium Outlets, one of its affiliates, S.D. Deacon, served as general contractor during all four phases of the mall’s construction and expansion.

This would mark the first time Deacon Development has handled the design, management and ownership, as well as construction, for a project in the Woodburn area, Snook said.

Depending on how quickly the project moves through the city’s planning and review process, Snook said his team is looking to break ground around mid-summer of this year. He expects the initial construction to take five to six months, and the end users’ interior remodeling and preparations to last about the same.

“But, by spring of 2015, everyone will be doing business there, if not sooner,” he said.

Though the car sales and repair company’s plans have not yet been completely settled either, Siamak’s General Manager Mario Nuñez said there is a “90-95 percent chance” that the business will be moving to Salem, pending the close on a sale of property in that area.

“We’d like to stay in Woodburn — we have a lot of customers here — but there just isn’t a lot of property available,” said Nuñez, who has worked in the Woodburn auto industry for more than a decade.

He estimated the car dealership will stay in town for a couple more months, and plans to keep its customers in the loop as various stages of the transition are confirmed.

The bulk of the approximately four-acre property is owned by longtime Woodburn resident Warde Hershberger, who first acquired the land in the mid-1990s but has been trying to sell it for some time.

He said he has been in discussion with Deacon for a couple years, and he expects to close on the deal by the end of April. Hershberger, too, declined to comment specifically on what companies have expressed interest in the space.

However, he did say he was pleased and optimistic about the parcel’s future.

“I like the businesses they’re going to put on the property,” he said. “I’m not at liberty to say what they are, but I’m happy with what it’s going to be.”