Hillsboro City Council will consider moving forward on proposal to bring organic grocery store to downtown Hillsboro
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 7:50 AM Updated: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 8:49 AM
The city council will vote Tuesday night on whether to enter into an exclusive negotiating contract with Tokola Properties, which would build a Lillian's Natural Marketplace and apartments at East 4th Avenue and Southeast Main Street in downtown Hillsboro.
Metro and the city bought the property, which used to be a Wells Fargo Bank, in 1998, intending to redevelop it as a transit-oriented development project. Since then, the Tuesday and Saturday markets have used the building for storage space.
The city sent out requests for proposals last year, hoping that the Wells Fargo site would become something "cool." Eight companies sent in proposals for this or another city-owned site on Southeast 2nd Avenue and Southeast Washington Street. A selection advisory committee overwhelmingly chose the Tokola Properties team to redevelop the 4th and Main Street site.
Tokola has 30 years of development experience, and they recently completed a similar project in Gresham. That project -- called 3rd Central -- also includes a Lillian's and three floors of apartments.
Tokola's proposal for downtown Hillsboro is a four-story project that includes 60 to 90 apartments and underground parking in addition to the organic grocery store.
In a memo, the economic development staff admitted that the complex project will face challenges because of the market and because such a development has never been done downtown.
Before asking for proposals, Metro and the city did anticipate needing to offer incentives such as tax abatement, assistance with permits and some form of gap financing. At this point, city staff aren't sure how much public help would go to the project, but most of the money would need to come from Tokola, the memo said.
If the council approves the non-binding exclusive negotiating agreement, the city and Metro would have 10 - 15 weeks to work with Tokola to craft a project design and identify funding sources. If that goes well, the staff would bring a formal development agreement back to the council in the spring.
-- Casey Parks