Principle Properties breaks ground on mixed-use project

Battle Ground well positioned for Alder Pointe Apartments and 17-acre, live-work-play community

TJ Fontenette

Principle Properties LLC recently began construction on Phase 1 of Alder Pointe Apartments as an answer to the lack of workforce housing and mixed-use development in Clark County.

The addition of Alder Pointe to Scotton Landing, a 17-acre mixed-use development, will create a unique “live-work-play” community in Battle Ground and one of the few of its kind in Southwest Washington where people can shop, dine and find entertainment within a close proximity to their home and work.

“To have the ability to be able to walk and get to these services is really big,” said T.J. Fontenette, founding member of Principal Properties. “In a lot of apartment communities, you still have to get in your car and drive.”

Principle Properties, a commercial real estate and development firm in Vancouver, hired LSW Architects to design Alder Pointe. Team Construction LLC, which serves as the project’s general contractor, expects to complete Phase 1 (128 apartment units and 37 garages) by spring 2016. Phase 2 will eventually add an additional 52 units.

Live-work-play community

“There’s a significant demand for workforce housing, not only in Clark County, but in the city of Battle Ground,” Fontenette said. “That really motivated us to do the project.”

Because of the close proximity to current and future retailers at Mill Creek Town Centre and Scotton Landing, Alder Pointe residents will have access to stores and services within walking distance. These now include Walmart, several restaurants (Wendy’s and Panda Express recently opened), medical clinics, access to public transportation and a nature park.

“These are amenities you don’t often find unless you’re going to the Portland area or other larger established areas,” said Fontenette. “Alder Pointe will provide urban opportunities within a suburban environment.”

Many people live and work in Battle Ground, but some residents commute to Vancouver or Portland, Fontenette said. Alder Pointe is within a few miles of several major employers, including Walmart, Fred Meyer, Battle Ground High School and the Vancouver Clinic.

People choose to live in Battle Ground for the low cost of living and high quality of life associated with its school district and the appealing setting, said Fontenette.

“We’re seeing a mix of young families, as well as working singles and couples looking for workforce housing that allows them to have a good quality place to live, but also well-located to where their employment is,” said Fontenette.

Apartment design

Principle Properties studied several mixed-use properties with apartments in Portland and Clark County, including the Columbia Tech Center, before designing Alder Pointe at the corner of Southwest 15th Avenue and Scotton Way.

“We looked to see which elements worked and didn’t work, and a couple of things kept coming up,” said Fontenette. “It’s a delicate balance to get a mixed-use project that’s viable.”

Principle Properties also decided to invest in ultra high-speed internet. “Fiber optic is a must,” said Fontenette. Each unit is wired for fiber optic broadband, making Alder Pointe one of the first few fiber optic-friendly apartments in Clark County.

Alder Pointe will feature studios as well as one, two and three-bedroom units. Each will have flexible open floor plans with tall 9 ft. ceilings to accommodate singles, couples or families. The 3,000-square-foot clubhouse features a community room, a fitness area and a heated pool with a large sun deck. There will also be a large green space area and extensive landscaping throughout the project.

“There is a tendency to pack in [building] units, but people want space between buildings, greenery and areas where they can walk their dogs and enjoy the outdoor features within their community.”

Besides the green space within Alder Pointe and Scotton Landing, residents can walk across the street to Remy Nature Park, an 80-acre wetland preserve owned by the city of Battle Ground. The preserve’s walking trail is now complete and provides access to wetlands and wildlife. The trailhead is directly across the street from Alder Pointe, adjacent to the Walmart parking lot.

Principle Properties’ projects

Principle Properties also developed Millcreek Town Center, a 200,000-square-ft. retail shopping center anchored by Walmart that’s located across the street from Scotton Landing.

Next spring, Principle Properties plans to add its final phase to Millcreek – a 12,000-square-foot retail building for several high-volume retailers, with half of the space already leased.

The development of Scotton Landing and the Millcreek Town Center began after Principle Properties and its investors completed the sale of East Ridge Business Park in 2006, a 90-acre mixed-use project in Vancouver.

Timing was everything, said Fontenette, for both market conditions and Principle Properties.

“When we completed the development and sale of East Ridge Business Park, we were able to focus our attention Millcreek Town Center and Scotton landing,” he said. “When we did, the market started to soften up in 2008.”

During the recession, Principle Properties completed pre-development and land entitlement work for the properties, believing the economy would recover eventually.

“When we got done with entitlement work in 2010, we started to see some light at the end of the tunnel with the economy,” said Fontenette. “By the time we ended up selling our first piece of property to Walmart in 2012, things were well under way it terms of the recovery.”

When Scotton Landing is complete within the next few years, it will house about 300,000 square feet of residential, commercial and retail space, whose tenants have not yet been announced.

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