Why Pacific NW Properties is buying industrial real estate outside Portland

By Jonathan Bach  –  Staff Reporter, Portland Business Journal

A Beaverton real estate firm is betting on industrial real estate outside Portland, picking up two properties in April, with a third purchase slated for May.

Pacific NW Properties closed deals in Vancouver and Salem this month at a time when the Portland area’s industrial market has remained in good shape. Pacific said it does have projects in Portland, developments planned in Tualatin and Hillsboro and pending acquisitions within Clackamas County.

But the company has qualms with Multnomah County.

Pacific NW Properties’ Evan Bernstein & his team have been very
active on the acquisition and development front so far in 2021

“It’s not completely intentional that we’re expanding ‘outside’ of Portland, however, we tend to have a better experience outside of Multnomah County to tell you the truth — faster permits, more enthusiastic city planners and of course a better tax structure,” Evan Bernstein, who directs leasing and acquisitions for Pacific, said by email.

The first April deal, wrapped at the start of the month, was for 11013 N.E. 39th St. in Vancouver, marking Pacific’s ninth project in the Southwest Washington city. The light industrial space covers 30,000 square feet and cost $3.7 million. Its tenant, the case-maker Bauer Cases, will leave next year when its new, larger building finishes, according to Pacific.

A $3.5 million Salem transaction closed on April 14. The money bought Pacific what’s now known as I-5 SOUTH, vacant and covering 25,000 square feet. A single tenant could lease the space, according to Pacific. The address is 3350 Pipebend Place N.E.

Even if that space is empty for now, Pacific’s bet on Salem appears to be paying off. A separate development called South Salem Business Park finishes in May and already has prominent tenants lined up: Auto parts distributer LKQ Corp. and GRUMA Corp., which will have a presence there as tortilla company Mission Foods.

Growing its capital city presence, Pacific plans to close on six acres next month for $1.8 million for what’ll be called South Salem Business Park II.

South Salem Business Park was its first project in the city.

“If we’re going to be in Salem, we’re going to be in Salem,” Bernstein said. “It didn’t make a ton of sense to have only one project down there with how active we are.”

Speed is of the essence, too.

“As you can tell from our lightning-fast speed of acquisitions and decision making, the last thing we want to do is be held up by lengthy city delays or unnecessary red tape,” Bernstein said. “We can move at a better pace outside of Portland.”