Monday, October 7, 2013

Commercial Real Estate Newsbits

A good bit of interesting commercial real estate news over the past few days!

The big news that REI choose Keizer Station for a Salem area store.  It makes sense - new construction, easy for tenant improvements, big parking lot, easy access to I-5 for its regional draw.

But still.

Vacant big box - former Safeway on Middle Commercial
As the Transportation and Growth Management proposal recently awarded a grant says,"several parcels such as the old Safeway store remain vacant or underutilized" in the middle Commercial district.

REI also would have been a terrific anchor-type tenant for the Boise redevelopment project. Or maybe a different parcel in or near downtown. The Portland store on NW 14th and Johnson might have been a model more than the Jantzen Beach store, which closed when the downtown location opened.

Faux Streetcar style of Keizer Station
Instead, they'll by-pass Salem for the faux "town center" of Keizer Station.

It's a real missed opportunity.  It would be nice for the City to discuss publicly their attempts (or involvement) to recruit REI and why they by-passed Salem for Keizer.

Also interesting was the announcement by Book Bin that they'll be opening a store in the old Borders location on Lancaster just off Sunnyview.  Lancaster needs a book store, and hopefully the Salem market will be able to support both locations.  (It would be terrible if this were a prelude to a transition out of downtown!)

Finally, there's new construction by Gilmore Field

Boulder Creek North - Arbuckle Costic
Note sidewalk and footbridge
Two medical and office clinics are planned for the north and south sides of Clark Creek here.  They're breaking ground first on "Boulder Creek North."  (The name, frankly, is baffling.  There's no Boulder Creek here:  It's Clark Creek!)

12th Street narrows curiously here and is difficult for people on foot and on bike.  12th isn't all that busy here except during the evening commute south.  Because of the bridge over Clark Creek and what is apparently a reduced right-of-way, the sidewalk disappears between Hoyt and McGilchrist.  The left auto travel lane becomes a turn-only lane onto McGilchrist and the industrial area near the airport.  Through traffic for brief intervals backs up in the single through-lane then during the rush hour - but not in any meaningfully persistent way.

People on foot are forced to salmon upstream in the bike lane, and it's not uncommon here for people on bike also to salmon.  After dark this is especially problematic.  The triangle of 12th, McGilchrist, and 13th (as well as the intersection with Cannon) is poorly designed for non-auto travel - and can be confusing, too, for those in cars.

12th Street at the Clark Creek Bridge and Culvert
Between Hoyt and McGilchrist the sidewalk disappears
the new construction is on the left, just past the bridge railings
In the architectural rendering above, you can see a new sidewalk, and then a curve as it follows the creek in a bit, and then an angled footbridge as the continuation of the sidewalk.

Hopefully this is a meaningful representation and not an abandoned set of preliminary concepts.

Unfortunately, this development met city requirements and went through a non-public administrative permitting process. Fixing the missing sidewalk here should be a condition of development, and we don't know how the city is treating this.  The parking lot rather than the building fronts the street, so we aren't looking to this for a very "walkable" configuration, alas.  (If I find out more, I will update this post.)

Update Tuesday

This is an odd little project. Basically, the developer's not going to build the sidewalk across the creek and instead paid into a fund for the City to do it.

As I understand it, the sidewalk along 12th on the lot frontage will be built as part of construction. This is good, since the missing sidewalk north of McGilchrist is also first priority project in Bike and Walk Salem, the updated walking chapter of the Transportation System Plan. The creek crossing will be the most difficult part of the gap, and the Boulder Creek development will complete another part. (The gap remaining will be at the used car lot at Hoyt.)

City widening project from McGilchrist to Fairview - CIP map
Note that it does not cross the creek!
South of there, the City has a funded project to widen 12th Street between McGilchrist and Fairview and add a right turn-only lane at Fairview. Public Works will tie the northern end of that project into a crossing of the creek.  The City hasn't started designing it yet, so this remains something of a hope and hypothetical. But since the City hadn't done any design work, it was all too possible that the office building's footbridge and sidewalk design would be incompatible with the City's road design - or at least introduce complications.

12th Street Project from adopted Capital Improvement Program
Note the $132K system development charge
(It feels a little like a part of the project that might be value-engineered out or otherwise fall through the cracks.  It's hard to imagine that the City has actually charged the developer the full cost of the improvement they are getting a pass on. Congestion here is also of brief duration, and instead of using the congestion to promote, say, bicycling, this will yield an overbuilt solution for a small problem and induce yet more demand.)

Here's another view from the other side - you can see the way the two parts of 12th don't exactly line up - and a walking salmon in the bike lane.

Love the google!  Walking Salmon + slight jog in road alignment


Anonymous said...

Any info on what's going on with the property across from Safeway on Center & 13th? Noticed it's completely fenced off.

Ann Williams Thomas said...

The clinic at Center and 13th was designed by Pietro Belluschi. I'm thinking the fencing is preparation for asbestos mitigation? There has been activity insde the building throughout the summer. (construction dumpster out back, etc.) I hope it's reuse and not demolition. That side of the block is very sad with the houses/businesses next door that were torn down several years ago.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the update, Ann. It would be great to see that Belluschi spiffed up!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with confirmation that the office complex does not include the creek crossing or footbridge and that the City will be doing this as part of an adjacent road widening project.

Anonymous said...

The corner property on 13th and Center was demolished today.

Curt said...

A few more details about REI:

I suspected that there were a lot of Salem members and online shoppers and that drove REI's decision to expand to the area. 13300 members is a bit remarkable. It is another powerful piece of evidence that when it comes to shopping and recreation, Salem is a bedroom community for our neighbors to the north, south, and east. That is a lot of purchasing power that Salem is exporting to surrounding towns.

Of course I'm going to relate it to parking! For 13k REI members (including me) driving long distances for a quality eating, shopping, and recreation experience is just part of living in Salem. Paying $1.50 and hour to enjoy that in Salem is cheap when compared to a trip to the Pearl (where we pay $5 a day to park on Sunday).

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

13K members! As you say, that's good to know and have that fact in your back pocket as a retort when people slag area demographics as not retail-friendly or whatever.

(Also for folks interested in the Belluschi at 13th and Center, there's a separate thread now for that.)

Anonymous said...

More on REI from Salem Weekly -

'Jason Tokarski, VP of Mountain West Investment in Salem, had worked for more than a year to encourage the retailer to settle on part of the old Boise Cascade property in downtown Salem. In an ongoing effort the “turn over every stone possible” to find productive use for the site, Tokarski and his team presented REI with a site plan and presentation in 2011. The group followed up with REI brokers a number of times after that....

REI has 13,300 active members in the Salem area, according to REI Senior Public Affairs Associate Bethany Hawley. The company’s real estate decisions are based on a variety of factors, “including REI membership, location amenities, visibility, co-tenants and access to recreational areas.” Hawley says REI selected Keizer Station for its “proximity and accessibility to I-5,” adding “the existing space also met our format for new stores, including store size and parking.”'