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Developing OSU-Cascades Campus Inspires Investors to Makeover Former DMV

The office property at 1000 SW Emkay Drive in Bend, Oregon has seen its share of traffic, but that was in its former incarnation as a state run office of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Developed in 1989 by an investor group from Roseburg, Oregon, the 3,924 square foot building includes a drive-thru that once served drivers undergoing license testing and 65 parking spaces to accommodate the foot traffic.

When the Great Recession hit Central Oregon in 2009, the DMV vacated the facility and the owners listed the property for sale. The building sat dormant until Compass Commercial broker, Robert Raimondi, CCIM and his clients recognized its investment potential and purchased the property.

The property was a bit of a jewel in the rough, but Raimondi noted its history as part of the old Brooks Scanlon Mill property.  “The location of the building in the middle of Bend’s west side office park gave it tremendous investment potential,  it just needed significant upgrades to make it attractive to tenants,” he said.

Raimondi’s clients, Toby and Ronda Wiltse, developers of commercial and residential property in Oregon and Idaho took an interest in the site. They appreciated the property’s clean classic architectural lines and development potential, in addition to the  west side location

Raimondi and his clients concluded that if OSU-Cascades went forward with its plan to develop a four-year university campus on the west side of town, then 1000 SW Emkay and its surrounding properties would see a major uptick in office demand.  Industry clusters would emerge and locate around the higher education center, they surmised.

Prior to making improvements to the building, Raimondi and his clients tested the market, listing the property for lease. With just a little interest from a few law firms, accountants and even a dog daycare, Raimondi and his client determined that it was time to begin upgrades, hiring Doug Strain Construction to complete the renovation.

They enlisted Pinnacle Architecture of Bend to design an updated and highly functional office space. Designer, Leah Hendrix worked with Toby and Ronda to fine tune the details to create a contemporary but warm space.  The team wanted to honor the period but at the same time update the functionality for today’s market.

“The inspiring thing about working on the re-design of such a cool Bend landmark building was the opportunity to take it back in time just a little bit.  I got the chance to play with mid-century modern design in a truly unique structure, and the resulting look just feels right for the space,” said Hendrix.

While the building retains the same footprint as the former DMV, it has undergone a complete remodel including an outside renovation and reconfiguration of the interior. The building now houses over 10 offices, break rooms, a conference room, several bathrooms and even a shower room for those that ride bikes to work. High capacity fiber is abundant throughout the building and the space even includes a flat screen in the conference room. Low voltage lighting is throughout the building.

“With OSU-Cascades coming online just a few blocks away, the intent was, and still is, to continue to build-out 1000 SW Emkay with additional office capacity to address the service, tech and educational industry needs of the region,” said Raimondi. “The west side of Bend is going to become the major technological and educational center of the region,” Raimondi predicted. He said that 1000 SW Emkay in its new incarnation lends itself well to a stand-alone tenant such as an educational  department, high tech company or service related company that wants a west side presence.

Founded in 1996, Compass Commercial Real Estate Services is Central Oregon’s foremost-accredited provider of commercial real estate services offering solutions in sales and leasing, tenant/buyer representation, asset and property management and construction services. Visit or follow us on Twitter @CompassCom.


Property images are available on Loopnet. For additional information and higher resolution images, contact: Jennifer Ortado,  541.383.2444