HERMISTON - A new office building in Hermiston will provide space for professionals ranging from doctors and dentists to insurance agents and attorneys.

The first of four buildings in the Columbia Professional Plaza opened this month with 30,000 feet of leasable space. By the time construction is finished next year, the new development on West Elm Avenue near Good Shepherd Medical Center will offer a total of 60,000 square feet for offices and retail stores.

"The building is a compliment to the hospital," said Chet Antonsen, a partner in Portland-based Pacific Western Homes, which developed the project. "And we're hoping it becomes a one-stop professional center for Hermiston, because right now most offices are scattered all around."

The complex is not the first commercial project for Pacific Western, which is best known for its work on residential subdivisions. But it was a local homebuilding project that provided the catalyst for its involvement in the Hermiston office building development. According to Antonsen, after his company built a home for local doctor Michael Warner, the opthamologist asked if he would be interested in working on a professional center project he had in mind.

Warner, who has become a partner in the project, will open his practice in the plaza in February, in space adjacent to a retail store that sells eyewear.

Tenants who've signed up for space in the new complex include a cardiologist, a podiatrist, a sports medicine practioner, a psychologist, a physical therapy practice and a medical lab.

In addition to professional offices, Antonsen said he hopes to find a pharmacy that wants to move into the complex, along with a deli or some other food service business.

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