Renovation of American Legion building will begin soon

CID Bio-Science plans to relocate in December

timestamp icon
category icon News

Planning and design are underway for a $1 million renovation of the former American Legion building in Camas.

According to Leonard Felix, CID Bio-Science president, Portland-based ZGF Architects LLP has been selected to design its new headquarters and operations facility in Camas that when complete will “celebrate a Northwest style while incorporating CID Bio-Science Inc.’s business focus — high tech and botanical.”

Headquartered in Portland, ZGF was founded in 1942 and has received more than 600 design awards.

“We’re pleased to be working with a Northwest company with a global reach to rejuvenate a historical piece of Camas real estate and create a new, inspiring place for innovation, said Kathy Berg, ZGF principal, who will lead the firm’s design efforts.

CID Bio-Science, which designs and manufactures portable, precision instruments for agricultural and environmental research, purchased the 10,000 square foot building at 1554 N.E. Third Ave. in October.

Felix said as the company was approaching the expiration of its lease at Camas Meadows Corporate Center, purchasing its own building was not initially considered. The unique aspects of the American Legion building made him think twice.

“We did the math and, with Small Business Administration financing and a full renovation, saw that we could acquire the building and actually reduce our monthly expenses.”

Felix said the renovation will create 10,000 square feet of office and assembly space for the company, and 2,500 square feet of leasable space within the building.

According to a local real estate listing, the building currently 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.

During an interview in November, Felix said he had special plans for the landmark structure.

“The building’s got great bones,” he said. “We want it to be a showpiece.”

Felix said when he first walked into the building, the interior reminded him of Timberline Lodge in Oregon.

“When we walked inside and saw the big timber beams, I was amazed and thrilled, and immediately had visions of this becoming a showcase building,” he said.

According to records kept by the American Legion Bennett-Barnett Post No. 27, construction of the wood frame building started in 1924 after the property was purchased for $445 from Crown Willamette Paper Company by Post No. 27. 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.

Current plans call for the 17-employee company to relocate from its current leased space at the Camas Meadows Corporate Center at the end of the year.

CID Bio-Science was founded 20 years ago, and Felix bought the business in 2007. It has been located 4901 N.W. Camas Meadows Drive for the past 10 years.