WARRENTON - Four new retailers - Staples Inc., Big Five Sporting Goods, Dollar Tree and O'Reilly Auto Parts - are looking to set up shop off U.S. Highway 101.

And at least two other developers are working on retail spaces for other businesses eying Warrenton, including Discount Groceries.

Plans for a retail complex next to Home Depot are coming together after years of delays.

Developer Scott Shanks, vice president of First Western Development Services in Edmonds, said his company is purchasing around 5.5 acres from Home Depot and expects to begin construction on three buildings for Staples, Big Five and Dollar Tree at the site in the next two weeks.

O'Reilly Auto Parts is buying part of the property to build its own store next door, he said.

A second phase of the project will add another 18,000 square feet of retail space to the complex for smaller businesses such as restaurants, cell phone stores and salons.

The new stores are piggybacking on the success of the Costco and Home Depot shopping centers, Shanks said.

"Warrenton is the retail hub for that coastal region," he said. "People come to Costco all the way from Manzanita and across into Washington. That's what's really attracted other retailers. They're picking up retail traffic that comes from a much larger distance."

Even though the Home Depot site was ripe for development, he said it's been a struggle getting to the point where construction can begin. The city of Warrenton approved the site design for the project in 2008.

"We've been doing this for 25 years, but with the economy, it's so much more difficult to get a project off the ground," he said. "Financing is very tough right now. It's a whole new world. And tenants are getting incredibly cheap deals by going to existing lease spaces. It's difficult for us to convince tenants this is where they need to be, but I think we've got everything patched up."

The recession stalled initial plans to get the complex up and running, and everything got put on hold. Leases aren't signed yet, Shanks said, but he's pretty sure the project is coming together now.

"We've been silent for three years here waiting for things to come back," he said. "We're thrilled to be building something here. We've had a long dry spell."

Pennon Construction of Portland is the general contractor for the development, which should be open by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the old Costco building next to Fred Meyer is in line for an overhaul, and Kirk Fausett has announced he is moving forward with plans for a 5-acre development with retail space across U.S. Highway 101 from the Premarq Center.

Dickerhoof Properties of Corvallis has proposed renovating the old Costco building and dividing it up for four or five retail businesses.

Owner Darren Dickerhoof said one of the businesses will be Discount Groceries, but he declined to name the other companies that might be leasing space in the building.

He said his family-owned company will do the construction work, including electrical wiring to remake the building for multiple tenants.

"We're looking at a budget of $2 to $3 million," Dickerhoof said. "Our specialty is buying older properties and redoing them. This building is newer and in better condition than we normally buy."

Dickerhoof said his company has been looking for potential development sites in Warrenton for a couple years and finally signed a contract for the Costco building last week. The major selling point of the property is that it's already built and won't face any complications over filling wetlands.

"What interests us is it's an existing building. We can go in and reposition and not have to deal with site work and other things that can be an issue with soil conditions in that area," Dickerhoof said.

Three years ago, he said, Dickerhoof Properties was scouting out land for national retailers interested in setting up shop in Warrenton, but unresolved wetlands issues on potential development sites were a turn-off.

If all goes according to plan, Dickerhoof's brother, Matt Dickerhoof, will move to Warrenton and begin the remodeling work this year.

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