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California Way property

Chinook Sales is preparing to develop the land on California Way for a future move.

Chinook Sales & Rentals will move from Industrial Way to a bigger new location on California Way later this year, giving a boost to a tired old manufacturing corridor where the city has been trying to spur development.

The tractor and farm equipment dealer has leased the building at its location at 1550 Industrial Way since 2000, said Jeff Trass, owner and manager. It needs room to expand, Trass said.

Another reason for the move, though, is that Trass is worried that the $85 million upgrading of the Industral Way/Oregon Way intersection will encroach on the Industrial Way parcel where the business is now located. Under the two main intersection proposals, new road and rail lines would skirt the property. But Trass says its seems inevitable his site will be needed for the project

“That piece of property is going to go, I’m sure,” Trass said this week.

But beyond the intersection project, Trass said his business has outgrown its current space. The new location on California Way (near Specialty Motors) will be on about 1.5-acre lot, about the double the size of Chinook’s current lot. The new building will be about the same size as the old one, but the expanded lot will allow additional outdoor space for tractors and other equipment from the company’s John Deere, Stihl and Honda lines, Trass said.

Chinook also expects to grow its rental department to offer more choices for customers.

Trass expects the move to happen in the fall, but there is no exact move-in date yet. Customers can still expect to shop at the Industrial Way location for several months.

The new site contains an additional 4.5 acres in the back where the company can develop in the future. Trass said he’s wanted to expand his business and own his own property for some time. He’s also been searching for a place that would offer a safer way for customers to enter and exit. The current location has a parking lot with a difficult egress/ingress for large vehicles and trucks.

After searching for a new building for quite some time, Trass said the company decided to construct its own building. The construction project will be about $750,000 to $1 million investment once the project is complete, he said.

Although the California Way location is less visible, Trass said he believes his loyal customer base will support the move and expansion.

“We’ve been in business for 38 years. People know us. … It’s because of my customers that I’m able to do this,” Trass said.

Plus, the street could become busier if the nearby land owned by the Sari family is developed, and as more companies move to fill in the area by Home Depot and Walmart, he said.

City planners had hoped that the opening of Walmart would in 2010 would trigger more new businesses and renovation along the California Way corridor, but progress along the there has been slow. A potential project to bring a new trailer manufacturing plant to a lot owned by the Saris fell through last year.

John Brickey, community development director with the City of Longview, said there aren’t any other major potential investments planned for the corridor now. He said that eventually the city would like to see the creation of a local improvement district to support extending Beech Street east from 14th Avenue to connect with California Way to further attract more businesses.

“It’s been a little bit slower (to develop the corridor) than we’d like, but there’s a lot of potential there, and I think Chinook Sales has taken advantage of a good site for their business,” Brickey said.

Trass hopes other new developments on the corridor will follow.

“Eventually that will develop into a nice area,” he said.

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