Greg Specht, head of Specht Development, will be the first to tell you that the industrial land market in Portland is a tight one.
“The story of industrial land in Portland is the lack of industrial land,” he said. “I can’t go buy 40 acres of industrial land that’s not on the side of a mountain around here.”
Specht’s answer to that reality was to head south about 30 miles and stake a claim on 60 acres of shovel-ready land that was recently added to the city of Woodburn’s Urban Growth Boundary. An affiliate of Specht Development, Specht Woodburn LLC, paid almost $3.1 million for the land, which sits just off I-5 in Woodburn along Butteville Road NE. The deal had been in the works for years, as Specht and others pushed to have the property annexed while other groups, including Thousand Friends of Oregon, opposed using farmland for industrial uses.
In fact, the seller, which according to tax records, appeared to be Darma Real Estate Partnership LP out of Texas, had been working for two decades to unload the acreage, according to Jack McConnell of Colliers International. McConnell represented the seller in the deal.
“Finding the right buyer for this land demanded thoughtful strategy that took us all the way to the courts in Salem and required 20 years of our dedication to working with this particular seller,” he said in a release. “To my knowledge, Specht has been the only developer with the vision to move south of greater Portland, making Woodburn the next development area, and we are thankful for that.”
The city finally approved annexation at the end of last year, and Specht now owns the 60 acres. It also has an option to purchase an additional 48 acres adjacent to the first 60 acres.
Specht will develop the 60 acres into the I-5 Logistics Center, though it is not going to build any speculative projects on the site. Instead, it will be all build-to-suit, with buildings ranging in size from 100,000 square feet to more than 1.7 million. The initial 60 acres could accommodate nearly 2 million square feet of industrial space.
Specht had marketed the site to Amazon as a potential spot for a distribution center, but the retailing giant went to Salem instead. Even so, brokers like Stuart Skaug, a senior vice president with CBRE, say that Woodburn is a good bet for industrial.
“If you are looking to site a regional distribution center for the entire Northwest, Woodburn works,” he said in an earlier Business Journal story.
For the full story, go to the Portland Business Journal.
©2018 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved.