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Port plans to sell Expo Center

Deal depends on zoning swap of waterfront properties

Expo Center, one of Hood River’s largest structures, is one step closer to undergoing a major change.

Key Development Corp. of Hood River plans to buy the building and land for $1.9 million, as long as a series of rezones can occur on the property, at Second Street and Portway Avenue, across from the Event Site in the heart of the Port-owned waterfront district.

The Port has owned the property since the early 1990s, when the 30,000-square-foot former Clark Door building was renovated as a public convention space. For years it was home to events such as Harvest Fest but has been home to Dakine warehouse and Full Sail Brewing Co. warehouse and offices over the past six years.

On Monday the Port of Hood River commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a Disposition and Development Agreement with Key Development, which has guided construction and redevelopment of five new buildings in the neighborhood of Event Site over the past four years. Those buildings include the commercial buildings along Portway.

Once complete, the Expo Center sale could lead to renovation of the building, creation of new commercial buildings next to the existing structure, and other future development.

“We’ll work to deliver this space in a thoughtful way serving both expanding and new businesses as well as the broader community,” said Key Development’s Jeff Pickhardt.

Turtle Island foods will succeed Full Sail as the main tenant in the new building, according to Jamie Athos, Turtle Islands’ operations manager. The repurposed Expo will be an adjunct to the company’s newly constructed facility adjacent to the west; the new facility is tentatively set for full production by mid-2014. That will allow Turtle Islands to vacate its current home, also a Port-owned property on Industrial Way next to Full Sail.

“The close proximity is really beneficial to us. It’s kind of fortuitous that this property (Expo Center) could come available,” Athos said. Currently the Expo Center is used as a warehouse, with some offices, by Full Sail Brewery, which is completing its own move into an expanded warehouse and packaging facility on Columbia Street.

The Port Commission’s action essentially authorizes the port staff to execute the DDA in consultation with port legal counsel. Adoption of the DDA could lead to the sale of the building and property for $1.95 million. The entire deal is contingent on rezoning and replatting of the property, which would be divided into a total of seven parcels, including a 41,290-square-foot linear parcel across Anchor Way just south of the facility.

“This is the just the first step but it creates a roadmap for the future of the property,” said Michael McElwee, port executive director. The commission discussed two versions of a PDA in executive session during a special meeting, and voted on the one recommended by McElwee, which sets the price of the land at $714,000 and the building with light-industrial zoning at $1.21 million.

The deal depends on approval of zoning changes including the west parking lot, which would be divided into three parcels, including the southernmost to be retained by the port for potential future development. It would also require approval of a zoning transfer of the existing Commercial 2 property from the Expo Center parcels to Lot 1, just to the east.

Accepting Key’s proposal for repurposing the Expo means Port resources can be utilized on other priority projects, according to Pickhardt.

“Winding down from the last couple years of Waterfront development work leaves Key well positioned to expeditiously work through the Expo repurpose project providing space for further business expansion at the Waterfront,” Pickhardt said.

“The next step in our process is to complete a phase of due diligence then plan useful space for further business expansion. Our effort will include making an effort to create aesthetically pleasing buildings,” he said.

Commissioners Fred Duckwall, Rich McBride, Brian Shortt and Hoby Streich voted for the PDA, with Jon Davies voting against.

“I thought we could get a little more of a purchase price; but I want to make sure people know that I think it is a great project and I’m happy with the composition of it, and the direction the waterfront is taking,” Davies said.

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