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Developer says big box plan may be near

By JASON COX

Of the Keizertimes

A developer of Keizer Station’s Area C said last week he expects to submit a master plan for the area “within the next few weeks.”

The area in question is bordered by Chemawa Road to the west, a set of railroad tracks to the east and Lockhaven Drive at the north.

It was also the center of heated debate in 2007 and into early 2008, as developers successfully pushed through a text amendment allowing a big-box store up to 135,000 square feet to locate there, provided there was a specified amount of mixed-use development.

And Alan Roodhouse of RPS Development said his proposal will include mixed use as well as a large retail tenant, although he declined to name the companies he’s in negotiations with.

“We’re negotiating with somebody,” Roodhouse said. “I’m not allowed to say who they are, but I think people will have a pretty good idea.”

In the past developers have acknowledged ongoing talks with companies like Winco and Wal-Mart. Roodhouse confirmed the company he’s talking with at the moment was a “discount retailer” but didn’t elaborate further.

The proposal will include a building larger than 80,000 square feet, but at least somewhat less than 135,000 square feet, making it big enough to require a corresponding amount of mixed-use development. Under the deal reached by the developers and the Keizer City Council, any retail square footage over 80,000 square feet on the primary building must include a corresponding amount of mixed-use development – that is, structures that can blend office, retail and residential.

“More recently, we’ve been looking at mixed use that involves apartments as well as commercial,” Roodhouse said.

Roodhouse expects the tenant would buy the land from his firm once the master plan process is complete and a tenant has signed on, adding that Target and Lowe’s also own the land their buildings sit on.

Roodhouse acknowledged the delays, noting he had made similar statements last year. But the downturned economy is making banks queasy about business financing, he said.

“That has slowed things down,” Roodhouse said. “There’s no doubt about that. We’re eager to get going and produce some jobs, both in the short term for construction and the long term for permanent jobs.”