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City finalizes $11.125 million sale of Terminal 1 property to Lithia Motors, Inc.

(August 28, 2017) – After asking the City Council to declare Terminal 1 (T1) surplus in 2014, City Commissioner Nick Fish today finalized the sale of T1 to Lithia Motors Inc., the Medford, Oregon-based Fortune 500 auto retailer, for $11.125 million.

Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan signed the deed today, officially transferring the prime industrial property along Northwest Portland’s industrial waterfront to Lithia and capping the final chapter in the $1.4 billion Big Pipe project, the city’s largest infrastructure project to date.

Environmental Services bought T1 for $6.3 million in 2004 from the Port of Portland. It was used as a staging area for the Big Pipe project, which constructed two large pipes on either side of the Willamette River and installed rain gardens and other green solutions which have eliminated most combined sewer overflows to the Willamette River and Columbia Slough.

“Lithia Motors is an important economic player in Oregon. I know that they will leverage this property to its fullest potential to create good jobs in our city,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler.

“This sale is a win-win-win: preserving scarce industrial land, generating good family-wage jobs, and delivering a solid return for ratepayers,” said Commissioner Fish. “With the property in Lithia’s hands, I’m confident that T1 will continue to be an asset on our working waterfront.”

The 14.5-acre property, at 2400 NW Front Avenue, contains a large paved lot with a 96,000-square-foot warehouse in addition to a 3.6-acre dock.  It is identified in the city’s Comprehensive Plan as prime industrial land, and is a key part of Portland’s jobs forecast and economic development strategy for the next 20 years.

“For several years Lithia Motors has had the need to consolidate a number of its local operations under one roof and the Terminal 1 site provides us with the opportunity to do just that while embarking on an exciting partnership with the people of Portland. The development of Terminal 1 allows our company to plan for the future, control current operations and meets the needs of our customers in a fully consolidated facility,” noted Mark DeBoer, Lithia Motors Vice President, Corporate Development.

He added, “We’re equally excited at the possibilities for use of the surplus property at Terminal 1 and hope to best address the vision and future clean transportation needs of the greater Portland community by aligning with the City of Portland Comprehensive Plan.”

Leaders at Lithia Motors expressed the belief that the company is uniquely positioned to partner with the City of Portland to further explore, develop and adopt innovative urban transportation solutions while creating living-wage jobs to a diverse resident population in accordance with the City’s equity and prosperity goals.

Lithia Motors, Inc. is one of the largest automotive retailers in the nation having built strong relationships with virtually every automotive manufacturer. The company employs a team of more than 13,000 in 18 states. About 2,200 of those workers are based in Oregon.

Background / Timeline

When the City Council authorized T1’s sale in 2014, the property was assessed at $8.6 million.  

In 2016, Environmental Services received seven bids ranging from $6 million to $10.5 million before City Council canceled the sale process and directed the bureau to lease it to the Portland Housing Bureau for consideration as a mass homeless shelter. In November 2016, City Council withdrew that concept and renewed Environmental Services’ authority to sell the property.

In the second offering, Environmental Services received seven bids ranging from $10 million to $10.5 million. When Environmental Services asked those bidders for their best and final offers, Lithia raised its offer $2 million to $12.5 million, making it the high bidder. In December, Environmental Services accepted Lithia’s proposal.

The final sales price of $11.125 million was adjusted from the accepted offer of $12.5 million based on further information discovered during the inspection phase, also known as due diligence. During the inspections, a sinkhole in the main lot and damage to the dock were discovered. To address these findings, the city and Lithia negotiated a price adjustment as well as an additional $625,000 Environmental Services has put in escrow. Lithia can draw upon those escrow funds for repairs, subject to Environmental Services’ approval. All offers received would have been subject to the due diligence process.

For more information on T1 including photos, see www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/514449

 The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. For news updates, follow @BESPortland on Twitter and visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/news.

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Media Contacts:

Diane Dulken, 503-823-6724, diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov

Lithia Motors Contact: Tom Dobry, 541-734-3015, tdobry@lithia.com