A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

At Edgewater Village, a plan change

Written December 16th, 2015 by Hasso Hering
The completed Edgewater units on Main Street near the Willamette River.

Three of the Edgewater units on Main Street near the Willamette River a few weeks ago.

The market is forcing a change in the plans for Edgewater Village, the most ambitious of all the downtown development projects supported by CARA, the Central Albany Revitalization Area.

Developers George and Paula Diamond, of Lake Owego, told the CARA Advisory Board Wednesday they’ve not been able to sell the first five houses built in the planned unit development near the Willamette riverfront on Main Street. Now they’d like to scrap the original plan for 55 additional houses on the six-acre site and build multiple-family housing — apartments — instead.

The CARA board after prolonged discussion, voted that yes, it would consider the change in plans, which the “mixed-use” zoning there would allow. Details, such as a site plan, are to be worked out by the developers in conjunction with the city staff. George Crandall, the Portland architect advising CARA on design matters, will be consulted.

The Diamonds said they’d spent $2.1 million on the project so far, but the market has changed and the kind of houses they would have liked to build on the site are no longer economically feasible. (Or words to that effect; some of the exact phrasing escaped me because nobody at CARA meetings makes any great effort to speak distinctly or to talk directly into the microphones provided in the city council meeting room.)

The five Edgewater houses, two stories each sitting cheek-by-jowl on narrow lots on the west side of the northern stub of Main Street, were finished in August. They remain unsold, though one or two appear to have been rented. They had been priced from nearly $256,000 for the smallest, at 1,546 square feet.

George Diamond also asked that the city sell him at the appraised price a parcel near the center of the Edgewater parcel, adjacent to the BNSF Railway track. Albany acquired the lot from the railroad a few years ago as part of negotiations over a new city franchise for the track, which runs partly on Water Avenue.

CARA has invested $2.4 million in what promised to be a multimillion-dollar development. The public-private partnership deal was structured as a loan that would be forgiven at the rate of $40,000 for every house built. The houses were supposed to be finished in stages through August 2018. Diamond said apartments would result in a tax-value increase bigger than if houses were built — once the project is done. (hh)

10 responses to “At Edgewater Village, a plan change”

  1. Rolland Brower says:

    Interesting. I’m not sure I would believe a developer who soon after completing these have had multiple “Sale Pending” signs shown. Are they knowledgable on the market in this area for apartments with all that have been built?

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Back in 2007, when CARA committed the $2,400,000, the market ‘forced’ this project to be multi-dwelling units (146 condos?) for $22M.

    Then the market ‘forced’ the project to be something else, then something else, then something else.

    Now the market ‘forced’ the project to be mixed-use with multi-dwelling units?

    One gets the feeling that after 8-9 years neither CARA or the Lake Oswego developer knows what the hell they are doing.

    It must be fun to play with other people’s money in this way.

    • Bob Woods says:

      Well you certainly don’t know. All you have ever done is complain, harrang and bloviate.

      Changing with the times and the market is EXACTLY what businesses and savy government employees do all the time. Like Ed Hodney who runs the parks department and made it a highly entrepreneurial operation.

      • Jim Engel says:

        Hey Bob, what’s does the Parks & Rec have to do with a CARA issue? It’s not his personal “entrepreneurial operation”. It got a great start by Dave Clark & Hodney has just continued it. It’s the one operation I wouldn’t mind putting a few more $$ into. As to “what businesses & savy gov do all the time…”, I think it’s more properly called “Bait & Switch” as applied to Edgewater Village. JE

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Not sure what you mean by ‘harrang’, but I had a small hand in getting M22-116 passed (voter approval of urban renewal plans). In the future, I take comfort in knowing that Albany voters who pay the bills will have the final say on urban renewal.

        Woods, what have you done that matches this success?

  3. Jim Engel says:

    When will CARA realize that this isn’t the French Riviera? There are not droves of people wanting to buy. It’s a ho-hum, drab area down at the end of a dead end street. It sure doesn’t rate to be a gated community! I hope that $40K deal doesn’t extend for “each” apartment proposed (not building) as it does now for each “house”. What was it that P.T. Barnum said about a “sucker….?” It’s my opinion that not one deal CARA has come up with to date would pass muster at an proper election for tax expenditures & not some backroom deal by a selected few! CARA, your deals are starting to come home to roost…JE

  4. Bill Kapaun says:

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see the “CITY” show some guts and enforce a contract against a large business.


HH Today: A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley
Albany Albany Carousel Albany City Council Albany council Albany downtown Albany Fire Department Albany housing Albany parks Albany Planning Commission Albany police Albany Post Office Albany Public Works Albany riverfront Albany Station Albany streets Albany traffic Albany urban renewal Andy Olson Benton County Benton County parks bicycling bike lanes Bowman Park Bryant Park Calapooia River CARA City of Albany climate change coronavirus COVID-19 Cox Creek path Crocker Lane cumberland church cycling Dave Clark Path DEQ downtown Albany Edgewater Village global warming gun control Highway 20 Interstate 5 Kitzhaber Linn County marijuana medical marijuana Millersburg North Albany Road Obama ODOT Oregon coast Oregon legislature Oregon passenger rail Pacific Power Portland & Western Republic Services Riverside Drive Santiam Canal Talking Water Gardens The Banks Tom Cordier Union Pacific urban renewal Water Avenue Willamette River

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Hasso Hering.
Website Serviced by Santiam Communications
Hasso Hering