BEND’S CENTRAL DISTRICT TO FURTHER URBANIZE CITY
Cover Article By Howard Friedman, CCIM
The latest census predicts that the population of Bend will be 130,000 by 2030. With just under 95,000 people currently residing in the city limits, and just 2,380 acres recently added to the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), new density philosophies will certainly be needed to accommodate this growth.
Bend’s planners have identified a handful of ‘Opportunity Areas’ throughout the city. Several of these, the Old Mill KorPine property, the east Greenwood District and the Bend Central District (BCD) are currently being considered by the City to become urban renewal areas, and promise to drastically alter the face of this once sleepy, logging town into a much more urban landscape, one almost unrecognizable to today’s residents.
Of all these areas identified, perhaps the BCD is gaining the most traction. Brooks Resources Corporation, one of the area’s premier developers, recently purchased 1.76 acres of property between Franklin and Emerson Avenues, the former Murray and Holt auto dealer, with the hopes of jumpstarting the BCD’s urban renewal process. Kirk Schueler, President of Brooks, says that although they have no definitive plans to date, some concepts have been discussed to take advantage of new zoning, such as a mixed-use residential or mixed-use office project. With building heights ranging in the 65–85 foot range (depending on location and project standards) there are a multitude of possibilities for developers to add density to the central part of town.
Schueler says, “For Brooks, the zoning is not the only opportunity. The City is starting the effort to create urban renewal districts and is putting together an advisory board to support city staff. The city makes the decisions of which opportunity area they will spend redevelopment money on, then by selling bonds, will fund improvements like roads, intersections and sewer capacities if needed. In the BCD, pedestrian improvements like sidewalks, street trees and even a proposed pedestrian bridge crossing the parkway are all on the table.” Schueler also says that Brooks would not start developing with the existing conditions in place, citing safety issues for pedestrians as a major concern.
Along with Brooks’ impending plans, a couple of other properties to be revitalized by local developers are on the drawing board. The former church building that currently houses the Platypus Pub was recently purchased by Third Street Marketplace LLC, with plans to redevelop the corner of 3rd Street and Lafayette Avenue into a multi-tenant retail complex. And an as yet unnamed local company is said to be in negotiations on another large parcel in the area as well.
To get an idea of the magnitude of the changes coming to a city near you, check out Bend’s Development Code on the City’s website, section 2.7.3200.
As any long time resident of the area will tell you, change is inevitable. Look for some major changes in the near future.
Howard Friedman is a partner and the managing principal broker at Compass Commercial. He joined the firm in 1999.
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Compass Points® is a quarterly publication of Compass Commercial Real Estate Services offering comprehensive surveys of the Central Oregon commercial real estate market. The report provides a detailed look at quarterly vacancy and absorption data in office, retail and industrial product types throughout Bend’s primary submarkets, as well as the Redmond industrial market. Absorption data contained in the report pulls from samples of buildings over 3,000 sq. ft.