Lawyer plans new office building

Sliding property values paved way for purchase of downtown site




A Vancouver attorney’s plans to build an Arnada neighborhood office building were spurred by the downturn in the real estate market, he said.

Sliding property values made his building site more affordable, said Loren Etengoff of The Law Offices of Loren S. Etengoff. He expects work to start on his $800,000, two-story, 5,000-square-foot building in March, after buying the former single-family home site for $125,000.

City officials have approved his proposal for a small office building south of East McLoughlin Boulevard, between F and G streets.

“I’ve always wanted to own my own building, but found it very difficult to buy anything under 5,000 square feet,” Etengoff said.

He has been a sole practitioner specializing in personal injury work for more than 30 years.

For most of that time, he has leased offices in the downtown Riverview office tower, said Etengoff, adding that he was surprised by the cost of the development process.

“The land-use process cost me $10,000 in attorney fees,” he said.

But buying and building during the peak of the real estate market would have cost more than $1 million, he estimated.

In addition, Etengoff expects to save money by avoiding lease payments, which are subject to rate hikes over time. Instead, he will make payments on a low-interest-rate small business loan.

Etengoff plans to keep the building in the family and share it with his law school-bound daughter, Hannah Etengoff, whom he expects to join the practice in a few years.

“I’m finally going to have an owner-occupied building, something that can stay in the family,” he said.

Vancouver-based architect David Alt of Ninth St. Studio and Portland-based Gary Hartill of Orangewall Studios designed the project. Talbot Construction of Vancouver will be the general contractor