Wapato Jail sale falls through again

Cost $58 million to build

The Wapato Jail remains empty, June 3, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
The Wapato Jail, June 3, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — An unsolicited offer to buy Multnomah County’s unopened Wapato Jail has fallen through for the second time in a year.

According to Multnomah County, Pacific Development Partners made an unsolicited $10 million cash offer for the North Portland jail in May. The company had 90 days to perform due diligence.

In August, Pacific asked the county for an eight-week extension, saying that a data center developer had expressed interest, but Pacific needed more time to complete its due diligence. The period passed without further action and on Oct. 10, Pacific let its contractual rights expire.

The first offer was for $9 million from real estate speculator Garison Russo. He withdrew it in late October 2016 after the Portland Tribune questionned his development experience and financial backing in a series of articles.

While the offer from Pacific was pending, the couny retained the commercial real estate firm CBRE in August to market wapato and other surplus county buildings, such as the McCoy Building and Central Courthouse.

According to the announcement, CBRE will be marketing the property as an industrial or special use facility. With a footprint of 155,400 square feet, the facility is situated on 18.24 acres of land. The county built the complex in 2004, but it was never opened. The county says the property’s existing Heavy Industrial (IH) zoning allows for significant versatility in potential uses. They include: manufacturing and production; warehouse and freight movement; wholesale sales; and self-service storage and vehicle repair.

“We are looking forward to what that effort produces,” says county communications director Julie Sullivan-Springhetti.

Wapato was designed as a 525-bed minimum security jail and secure alcohol and drug treatment facility and cost $58 million to build. An analysis by the Portand Tribune shows the total cost to date is more than $90 million to date, including interest and maintenance payments, and could exceed $105 million by the time all the bonds are finally paid off in 2030.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN media partner.