Dec 13, 2007

Update: Multco. Commission Rejects Troutdale Marketplace Library Site

Update to my previous post: I just finished watching the video from the Dec. 13 Multnomah County Commission meeting. The County Commission voted to eliminate the Troutdale Marketplace (old Thriftway site) from consideration for Troutdale's new library. No one came forward for public comment prior to their vote.

The County Commission determined the Troutdale Marketplace site wasn't viable for a number of reasons, the prime problem being the existing lease structure. The proposed library at that location would have occupied 12k square feet of the 40k square feet of the closed Thriftway store.

Problem one: the library only needed 5k-7k square feet. They had no need - and didn't want to pay for- the extra square feet.

Problem two: Lamb's Thriftway subleases their space from United Grocers, which in turn leases the space from Kimco Realty. The lease expires in 2021, with two 5 year options available. However, Kimco said that the options would be for the entire 40k square feet. The County had no reason to lease that amount of space.

Problem three: a library at the Thriftway location, being in a strip mall, would have no control over its fellow mall tenants, the mall's appearance, or the maintenance of infrastructure such as HVAC etc. County Commission Chair Ted Wheeler pointed out that Kimco, as a REIT, only has a desire for increased profit by flipping properties, and would have little motivation for maintaining the mall's appearance. Also, Wheeler said, if the HVAC breaks down, he doesn't want to have to call a stranger in San Diego to get it fixed. He'd rather deal with someone local. He's right on this point. How motivated do you think Kimco would be to fix problems fast?

Library staff indicated they attempted to negotiate for a 8000 SF stand-alone pad for the library elsewhere on the Troutdale Marketplace property, but Kimco rejected this proposal. Library staff also told the County Commissioners that Kimco was a no-show for multiple scheduled meetings with Library negotiators.

So there you have it. Troutdale's library will be located somewhere downtown, either at the "Discovery Block" or the "Gateway Corner".

Want to see the County Commission's discussion of the Troutdale library? Watch the video here. The Troutdale library discussion starts at approx. the 25:30 minute point.

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