CID Bio-Science purchases old American Legion building

Remodel project could begin in December

By Heather Acheson, Columbian staff writer

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A building once used as an American Legion hall and a roller skating rink will soon undergo a major remodel and be used for a brand new purpose.

Built approximately 80 years ago, the now weathered, light blue colored structure at 1554 N.E. Third Ave. was purchased in October by CID Bio-Science, Inc. According to President Leonard Felix, current plans call for the 15-employee company to relocate from its current leased space at the Camas Meadows Corporate Center in about one year.

CID designs and manufacturers portable instruments for agricultural and environmental research including laser leaf area meters, plant canopy imagers, digital soil profile and root monitors, hand-held photosynthesis systems and leaf spectrometers.

Felix said he is currently in the throes of a bidding process with two architectural firms in Portland, and plans to have construction work start in December.

“We will be doing a nice remodel on it,” Felix said Friday. “The building’s got great bones. We want it to be a showpiece. I’m hoping to eventually get it into some architectural magazines. It’s going to be cool.”

Felix said the first floor will be transformed into a machine shop and offer space that will be available for lease, and the second floor will include CID’s engineering, sales, manufacturing and assembly functions.

Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association Executive Director Paul Dennis said he began working with Felix months ago when he heard he was interested in purchasing property.

Dennis said the relocation is a good step for CID Bio-Science and the Camas community.

“This is a classic case of being able to retain an existing business, where we can keep the jobs here,” he said. “Locally, it’s a big positive to be able to occupy a building that has been vacant for years.”

Felix, a Camas resident, said he was looking at relocation opportunities around the greater Clark County area, but the Camas building and its unique qualities stood out.

“The beauty of the structure is what sold us,” he said.

According to a local real estate listing, the 11,000 square foot building includes large wooden trusses and wood floors upstairs, and a kitchen and several large rooms with concrete floors downstairs. There is a gym sized, 5,200 square foot, ballroom on the main floor.

Originally owned by the American Legion, it has been used for such social events as weddings, receptions, a roller skating rink, and community events. It has also been home to the Rocket City Neon Advertising Museum.

“It’s a fairly noble history,” Felix said.

According to Clark County property records, CID Bio-Science purchased the building on a one-half acre lot in October for $275,000. As of Jan. 1, the building and land were valued at $405,600.

Felix said he hopes to expand his business within the new building in next few years, into the space that will initially be leased out.

CID Bio-Science was founded 20 years ago, and Felix bought the business in 2007. It has been located on Camas Meadows Corporate Center for the past 10 years.

In August, CID Bio-Science was named “Exporter of the Year” for a small/medium business by World Trade Center Tacoma during its 18th annual Globe Awards, which honors Washington businesses that are thriving through international trade designs. According to a press release, CID has expanded 50 percent in the past three years and exports to 41 countries.

In April 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Felix the Washington State Small Business Exporter of the Year.