Bend historically has been made up of single-family homes, but as costs rise and the population grows (and the state relaxes zoning codes to foster more multi-family housing) the City is attracting more large developments. But there are several obstacles these developments must navigate before breaking ground. Here’s a look at some of the bigger developments in the works.
In 2016 Bend re-zoned what it called the Core Area for more urban development. In short, buildings could be taller and could house both commercial and residential uses. “I would say the Box Factory project is completely aligns with that, they’re proposing five to six stories, a mix of residential and commercial or retail uses,” said Allison Platt, the Core Area project manager with the City of Bend. “We really see that as being kind of exactly what the vision for this area would be that would accommodate both future housing and employment growth and more of an urban scale development.”
The 300-unit development from Portland-based developer Killian Pacific is in its pre-application phase, meaning it has submitted a proposal to the City but hasn’t started a formal application. The ground floor will be dedicated to retail and the others will have one, two and three-bedroom units. Platt said the developers have met with local stakeholders and have gotten generally favorable feedback.
Transportation impacts can often be less drastic than neighbors expect. Platt points to the relatively minimal effects on traffic from the 240-unit Hickson Apartments at Westside Yard, which concerned a lot of nearby residents but hasn’t led to massive traffic jams.
“They’re just wanting to make sure that there's an overall transportation plan for that entire area, because there's the need for a new East/West collector and a North/South collector,” Platt said. “There's a desire for a mobility hub for our transit systems we located in this area and then the goal for multimodal travels by bike and ped improvements to be considered.”
Blue Dog RV
Bend-based developers Brooks Resources Corporation proposed a five-story, 169-unit mixed use building on Franklin Avenue that’s currently the home of Blue Dog RV.
“The plans include a number of key amenities, including a variety of unit types from small studios up to two-bedroom units, a dog park, brewery, outdoor gathering space, retail and more at the ground level,” said Dale Van Valkenburg, Brooks Resources director of planning, in a press release. “In addition, our concept includes secure on-site parking for each unit as well as an existing CET [Cascades East Transit] transit stop adjacent to the building entrance that will be enhanced through the project.”
The project is still in the pre-application process, and needs Brooks Resources’ Board to submit a formal land use application before moving forward.
“It's a $38 million investment on their end. So they want to move forward, but there's a lot of risks. I think that they are still looking for the City to signal some infrastructure investments that we could make on Franklin Avenue to help them feel more comfortable with moving forward,” Platt said.
Editor's Note: Shortly after this article was published, the Brooks Resources Corporation Board decided to pause the project for the time being, citing increased construction costs, uncertainty about streetscapes and pedestrian access as well as an influx of new housing developments in the planning stage that may curb demand.
Bendites are wary of Californians moving in, but what if they bring apartments, affordable senior housing, homes, offices, a hotel and retail space? Well that’s what Beverly Hills-based developer Kennedy-Wilson plans to do on a 21-acre site owned by Hooker Creek, a Bend-based construction material company. Hooker Creek used the property to store construction vehicles and RVs until a roof collapsed under heavy snow in early 2017.
“They're looking at over 1,000 units between those 30 acres,” Platt said.
The property is located just south of downtown Bend and adjacent to the Old Mill District east of the Deschutes. Kennedy-Wilson said the development will align with the goals set in the Core Area Plan adopted in 2020. The land was just purchased on New Year’s Eve, and plans are still being developed, but the developer said they’re aiming for a vibrant, connected and walkable community.
Developing Hooker Creek brings a different challenge than infill projects that typically build up in areas with existing infrastructure. There’s a significant amount of infrastructure that needs to be built before breaking ground.
“There’s a pretty robust process where they’ll work with the City for up to a year to develop their site plan concepts with the City, what their transportation network will look like, what their roadway cross sections look like, how they'll be developed, how wide will their sidewalks be and where will the bike lanes be,” Platt said.
Developing infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to urbanizing Bend, and not just for Hooker Creek. On Bend’s far-east side, the Stephens Road Tract offers 261 acres where the City hopes it can build housing to address the rising cost of living, and developing infrastructure is key to its creation. Project coordinators are in the outreach process, and concept plans are scheduled to be drawn up by May.