It is already Portland’s largest industrial park with more than 12 million square feet of buildings, and Rivergate Industrial District is about to add another 413,000 square feet with a new auto parts distribution facility, service training center and regional offices for Subaru of America, Inc. Construction workers will break ground in February 2011.

“The Port of Portland is thrilled to have Subaru of America, Inc. select Rivergate for its West Coast distribution facility,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director of the Port of Portland. “The goal for this site was to attract users that will potentially utilize other Port services and generate additional marine container business. With this lease, the Port has the opportunity to explore future logistics opportunities with Subaru for auto parts distribution operations.”

Port of Portland Commissioners originally approved a 12.44-acre ground lease back in November and through a signed agreement the footprint was expanded to 19.29 acres. Company officials had planned to construct a smaller facility with an option to expand it within five years, but after further review they decided to exercise the option on the front end for full build out.

Subaru’s new building will be the second project within a growing logistics center known as Rivergate Corporate Center III. On 114 acres owned by the Port of Portland, the property is anticipated to accommodate over 2.4 million square feet of industrial space. The site is near Terminal 6, the Port’s marine container terminal, and ideally suited for marine cargo, rail and heavy distribution users. Subaru and its related entities import approximately 10,000 twenty-foot containers into West Coast ports annually.

Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), which owns and manages real estate properties in major metropolitan markets across the country, has a Master Development Agreement with the Port for Rivergate Corporate Center III. Under the newly amended agreement, MEPT will enter into a 55-year ground lease with the Port. Trammell Crow Company will develop the facility for MEPT. Subaru of America, Inc. will then sublease the building for an initial term of 10 years starting in October 2011. Dave Ellis and John Fettig, principals with Capacity Commercial Group, represented MEPT in the sublease transaction. Brad Fletcher, executive vice president and managing director for Grubb & Ellis Company represented Subaru of America, Inc.

Having outgrown its 175,000 square foot facility at 158th Commerce Park, the ability to grow in a new facility was high among site selection criteria. Subaru’s strong auto sales in North America have driven increased market share and growth projections. The lease includes two extension options of five years each.

Another selling point was sustainability. Rivergate Corporate Center III is already home to the largest LEED Silver certified industrial building in America, and this new facility will be constructed to meet those standards as well.

“We had several critical requirements for our new facility; it had to be highly-efficient and state-of-the-art,” said Stephen Gale, director of corporate facilities with Subaru of America, Inc. “We were also very pleased that the property met LEED standards, reflecting our commitment to the community and the environment.”

Subaru’s entry into Rivergate Industrial District will not affect the company’s vehicle import activities across the river in Vancouver. The Port of Vancouver continues to serve as the West Coast port of entry for Subaru vehicles, with a 30,000 square-foot auto processing warehouse and 40-acre cargo backup area for its operations.