Glenwood deal a priority in '07
Sunday, December 31, 2006: SPRINGFIELD -Oregon - By Jack Moran
City officials resolve in 2007 to negotiate an agreement with a Portland-based development firm interested in remaking Glenwood's drab industrial riverfront district into a thriving neighborhood.
Minimal discussions between the city and representatives of Apex Investment Group have occurred since early November, when the city picked the firm to lead redevelopment efforts in a 48-acre pocket of Glenwood situated along the Willamette River.
Talks are expected to heat up soon, with Springfield officials hoping to finalize a deal with Apex this spring, Community Development Manager John Tamulonis said.
"At this point, we're just trying to get our arms around everything that needs to be covered in an agreement like this," Tamulonis said.
A contract between the city and Apex would include details about how and when to add urban infrastructure to the now-unincorporated district, initial development plans and strategies for acquiring properties that are privately owned.
The city has negotiated purchase-option agreements with owners of about half the land included in the redevelopment area. A few of those agreements - which the city could transfer to a developer - expire in May, Tamulonis said.
Apex beat out a local firm for the Glenwood job after dazzling Springfield officials with a plan to line a largely secluded stretch of the Willamette with a vibrant mix of residential, retail and commercial uses.
The Portland-based company's preliminary proposal follows guidelines of the Glenwood Riverfront Plan, a city-approved outline for redevelopment of the riverfront area. The district is now home to auto repair shops, used car lots and a mobile home park.
"(Apex has) great ideas, and we're enthusiastic to work with them," Tamulonis said. "They used what we put in place and took it a step higher."
In choosing Apex, city officials were impressed with the firm's track record of successful development and ability to self-finance a long-term project such as the one planned for Glenwood, which most likely will take at least a decade to complete.
Based in Portland, Apex is an international firm that has been involved with dozens of projects in the United States and the Middle East. The company has more than $1 billion invested in real estate development, according to information it submitted last summer to Springfield officials.
Apex officials say they are eager to begin work in Glenwood. David Sierens, the firm's vice president of business development and marketing, said he anticipates significant progress in negotiations between Apex and the city during the next few weeks.
"We're anxious to move forward with the project, and to sit down with the city to decide how to go about it," Sierens said. "We would like to get started as soon as possible."