Former highlands retail developer faces possible sale

February 21, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 21, 2010

Opus Northwest — the former development partner in a failed project to build a retail center in the Issaquah Highlands — needs money and could put part of the company up for sale, the company announced Thursday.

In 2005, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities announced a deal with Opus Northwest to build The High Streets, a retail center with a mix of national chains and local stores. But the deal unraveled by 2008 as the economy faltered. Port Blakely built streets and utilities in preparation for The High Streets development, but the land remains vacant.

The private company based in Bellevue is the regional arm of Opus Corp., a developer based in Minnetonka, Minn.

Opus Northwest hired financial adviser MorrisAnderson & Associates Ltd. to consider options for the future. A statement released Thursday said the options include a cash infusion, a joint venture or the sale of certain assets. Executives said the company had been restructured to adjust to tough conditions in the commercial real estate and credit markets.

Meanwhile, Port Blakely seeks a new development partner in order to complete the retail vision for the highlands. The latest plan offered by the developer includes a grocery store, a movie theater, a gas station and storage facility.

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