Article in Statesmanjournal today. Nice to see someone is doing relatively well in the current economy.
Waterplace site lures restaurant, offices
Lease may be near for major tenant; building at 75 percent capacity
story By Michael Rose • Statesman Journal • April 14, 2010
Downtown Salem's newest office building, called Waterplace, has landed a restaurant tenant and several other office space users, quickly reaching a 75 percent occupancy level even during the slow economy.
Hans Afshar, the chef and owner of Old Europe Inn, said he is leaving his South Salem location and opening a new restaurant at Waterplace by late July or August. The new restaurant will be called "Orupa" — a name Afshar said is based on the Persian word for "European."
Other businesses that have opened at Waterplace, or are poised to move in, include:
-The H Group Inc., a financial advisory practice, recently opened a 1,730-square-foot office at Waterplace.
-This week, Journeys Peak Travel is expected to move into about 1,640 square feet. The travel agency formerly was known as Journeys by Ambassador Travel Co.
-By September, Salem dentist Bryan Nakagawa plans to relocate Creekside Family Dental to Waterplace. The dental clinic is moving into 2,300 square feet.
-Waterplace developer Garth Brandaw and his firm, CB2 Architects, also have space in the building.
In addition, Brandaw said, the last details of a lease for an anchor tenant, which would take the top two floors, are being worked out. Brandaw said he was confident that the deal was on track, but it was too early to name the tenant.
The unnamed anchor tenant is in the financial-services industry, he said.
Orupa owner Ashfar said he plans to win customers with a mix of new American cuisine, local ingredients and small savory dishes.
"I will try to get food which is not so expensive but still delicious," Afshar said.
The menu will focus on midprice points: Most dinner entrees will be less than $20, and lunch selections will be in the $10 range, he said.
A type of wood-burning grill, which Afshar said is a first for Salem's restaurant industry, will add smoky flavor to the steaks and hamburgers served at Orupa. Seafood, pasta, and local and organic foods will be featured.
The restaurant will include "a nice cozy bar," where patrons can order tapas for less than $5, Afshar said.
He has picked a high-profile location. Waterplace occupies the site of the former City Center Motel and the Tudor Rose at 480 and 510 Liberty St. SE. The six-story building is across the street from Vern Miller Civic Center, a complex of city offices.
Orupa has leased more than 2,900 square feet at the Waterplace development, according to Sperry Van Ness, a Salem real estate company that represented the landlord and the tenant. It's large enough to provide seating for about 100 customers.
The new restaurant will have a staff of about 25 workers, including seven employees currently working for Afshar.
As for Old Europe Inn, Afshar said he didn't know the landlord's plans for the South Salem property after he leaves.
Old Europe Inn was founded in 1984, and Afshar took over as chef in 1988.
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