Work has begun on a development that will add approximately 200 units of student housing and a parking garage to a parcel just east of the Oregon State University campus.

Heavy equipment was working Thursday to tear down the building that used to house the Denson’s Feed and Seed store on Southwest Seventh Street. Also scheduled for demolition are the adjacent Bashful Bob’s Doors and Windows shop plus the Pacific Fruit warehouse on Southwest Washington.

To conform to the mixed use employment zoning that was approved for the property, commercial and industrial uses also must be part of any development.

The new zoning was approved for the Denson’s property in January 2016, with the Pacific Fruit parcel OK’d in February 2017. The combined parcel is 4 acres.

Lyle Hutchens of Devco Engineering said that the developers are working on designs for the project that will be forwarded to the city for approval.

“The project is moving forward,” Hutchens said, “and we see that as a good thing.”

Although no firm timetables have been set, Hutchens said that the development group hopes “that it will all come to fruition for an early spring” start to construction.

Owners of new student housing complexes generally try to open in the late summer, just before OSU starts its fall term. Hutchens confirmed that that is the intent of the developers, but he had no solid information on which fall likely will be targeted for the project’s opening.

When the new housing opens it will be the sixth major student housing complex to open in Corvallis in recent years, following 7th Street Station (2012, 308 bedrooms), Tyler Street Townhomes (2012, 215 bedrooms), the Union (2013, 221 bedrooms), The Retreat (2015, 1,016 bedrooms) and the apartments on the site of the old Gazette-Times building (2017, 112 bedrooms).

The city of Corvallis also has approved plans for a 900-tenant complex in the Witham Oaks area, but ground has not been broken. Plans for an 800-tenant project in the Timberhill area were withdrawn in 2015 amid strong community opposition and an unfavorable staff report from city planners.

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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