Sunset Shopping Center businesses relocating nearby
By Virginia Bruce
The venerable Sunset Shopping Center, built in the 1940s, will be demolished as part of the Murray Boulevard improvement project, slated to begin construction sometime this fall. The road will be widened to six lanes at the intersection with Cornell—two southbound lanes, two left-turn lanes, one through lane and a right-turn lane, plus bike lanes on both sides. Because of this, the old shopping center has to go.
The county will be paying about $3 million for the property owned by the Cheng Family Trust. Of that, $500,000 will be held in escrow to pay for environmental cleanup that will need to be done because of the dry-cleaning operation. Any future claims resulting from the contamination will be the former landowners’ responsibility.
The Humdinger property was also impacted by the roadwork, and the owner has sold the property to the county. The family that was running the restaurant decided to take compensation but not relocate their business.
The Sunset sale is not complete, so Project Engineer Al Girard can’t say when the demolition will occur, but it’s likely to be among the first things we see, since the county will probably use that area to stage the rest of the work. The Humdinger building will be demolished at the same time. Northwest Earthmovers, Inc. was awarded the road construction contract in July but a separate environmental company will do the demolition work.
Once the roadwork is complete, the county will auction the land. Because it’s part of the Cedar Mill Town Center, it must be developed following Town Center guidelines, which call for street-level development, two-story mixed-use at the corner. Access to the new development will be around the corner off Sue Street, since there will be no access from either Murray or Cornell.
But happily, almost all of the businesses that were located in the old center have found new homes in the community. Several businesses moved when they first heard that the building was likely to be in the way of construction. Unfortunately for them, that meant that they weren’t eligible to receive relocation funds from the county.
“Annie” (Vo Nguyet) of Fox Cleaners heard about the impending action and found out that the owners of the dry cleaning business across the street in Sunset Mall were willing to sell. She borrowed money from the bank and bought their business, moving a year ago last June. “A dry cleaning business is not easy to move,” she says. She is disappointed that she’s not eligible for county help.
David Allan’s Salon has moved in with Mr. James in the Milltowner Center at the corner of Cornell and Saltzman. “We had extra space, and it makes a good fit,” says James Newcomer. It’s good news for the loyal customer base who won’t have to go far to get their regular services.
Chiam Restaurant & Bar is moving into the long-vacant building that used to house the Tillamook Creamery. Area residents have been wondering when the “Old Mill Saloon” was ever going to open, and now we know – it won’t! Again, this is a great fit, since the loyal patrons of Chiam won’t be bothered by the difficult access into that lot that resulted from the Cornell roadwork. We hope that the new tenants will decide to keep the murals that depict (somewhat fictionally) the early history of Cedar Mill.
Chiam did receive county relocation benefits. Mr. Chen, a manager of the restaurant, said that the county help was a big factor in their being able to make the move. They asked a real estate broker to help them find a new spot, and he was able to determine the availability of the building, which they are leasing from Restaurant Concepts NW.
Nails Sophisticates moved some time ago into a new building at 88 NW Murray, just south of the Sunset Highway, next to the Chevron station, and changed their name to Sophisticates Salon. H&R Block Tax and Pony Express both moved their businesses into the center that contains Safeway at the northwest corner of Murray and Cornell.
Aguilar Tienda Mexicana y Carniceria (Mexican Store & Butcher) has relocated to 16165 SW Regatta, near the Walker Road Fred Meyer store. And the computer business is long gone, having shut their doors well before county planning called for the building’s demolition.
The tenants of the apartments upstairs from the shops have all vacated, including the lady with the pink bicycle that everyone loved to see parked in front of the cleaners. Apparently she also moved nearby, to an apartment further down Cornell. The seven tenants who were living there all received county assistance for their move.