Clatsop County developer Kirk Fausett has disclosed plans to build a mini-mall on approximately five acres of commercial land near the south end of the Youngs Bay Bridge in Warrenton and across U.S. Highway 101 from the Premarq Center.

Fausett has formed a separate company, called Steadfast, LLC, which owns the development. He and his family own 90 percent of the project.

This is an aerial view of  the proposed location where Kirk Fausett proposes to build a mini-mall on approximately five areas of commercial land across U.S. Highway 101 from the Premarq Center in Warrenton.  Photo courtesy of Kirk Fausett.

He told Coast River Business Journal he currently is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation to finalize plans to build an access road from the highway to his property.

"We've spent 1-1/2 years working with ODOT" for access approval, Fausett told CRBJ.

In addition to ODOT, the project also needs agreement from the Oregon Division of State Lands regarding wetlands mitigation, a process that is moving along, he said. Following approvals by the state agencies, the project still must go to the City of Warrenton for local land-use approval.

"It hasn't been the economy" that has delayed the project, he said. "It's our own government that is slowing us down, putting up hurdles."

The site of the proposed commercial development is part of a larger 85-acre tract Fausett purchased in July 2008 from Art Riedel. Only about 10 acres can be developed.

Riedel, the longtime owner of Portland-based Riedel International, Inc., a major international marine construction and dredging company, said he purchased the property in the 1960s in a sheriff's sale.

Originally, he thought the property "had great potential for a motel/hotel," but environmental issues halted those plans, he told CRBJ.

Riedel, who retains a 10 percent interest in the development project, said he believes a mini-mall would be a good use for the property and that a road connecting to the highway not only would benefit the mini-mall site but by extension would provide access to nearby Port-owned property.

"The road is key to opening that whole side of (Highway) 101 to development," Riedel said.

Fausett's plans call for approximately 40,000 sq. ft. of retail/office space in four buildings. A two-story building would house Fausett's company, Fausett Commercial Properties, Inc., which would be relocated from its present location in Astoria. The remainder of the building would be leased for commercial or office use.

A one-story retail building with about 8,500 sq. ft. already has a prospective buyer, Fausett said. The third building, totaling some 25,000 sq. ft., would have multiple tenants. The fourth building is being eyed for a restaurant.

Fausett said he hopes to begin mitigation work on the site this summer.

David Neys, Oregon Department of Transportation District 1 manager, was out of town and unavailable for comment.