Possible sale brings focus back to Juniper Ridge

One parcel may be sold; sale process proposed

City discusses Juniper Ridge land sale

BEND, Ore. - A company has expressed interest in one of seven parcels of available land in Bend's long-stalled Juniper Ridge project, a 1,500-acre parcel north of town, given to the city by Deschutes County over 25 years ago.

Wednesday evening, the Bend City Council will only be discussing future procedures for the individual sale of seven established lots located near Cooley Road and 18th Street.

Those plots are ready to be sold and used for industrial and employment based businesses. They range from about an acre and a half to just over six acres. 

According to Bend Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore, a buyer has recently expressed interest in buying one of the lots.The name of the business has not been released, as city government discusses real estate negotiations in executive sessions.

Councilors will hold a public hearing Wednesday night as city staff proposes they adopt a procedure to sell the seven available lots near the Les Schwab headquarters. 

"I think the market is just at the point where you are starting to see interest in vacant industrial lots," Skidmore said Monday. "As a result, we didn't really have a process set up for the selling of those lots."

The principal broker for the property, Ron Ross of Compass Commercial, said the economic recovery is a key factor in why interest is starting up again. Since the recession, companies would not buy land but would instead move into existing buildings. 

"During the recession, we had a huge inventory of industrial buildings and office buildings," Ross said. "Now that they're filling up, people are having to look at land."

If the proposed process is accepted, the city would not have to hold a hearing for the sale of each lot. It would simply be announced to the public. 

Part of the long-term vision for the entire 1,500 acre community is large areas for businesses to locate and grow, parks and trails, and future neighborhood retail and commercial centers. 

Skidmore said a master plan prepared over a decade ago outlined that the zoning is structured for higher-end industrial parks, like research and development. That development has been challenging, due to the millions of dollars directed to current road and sewer needs, and the high cost of bringing needed infrastructure to the area.

The hope is for these seven parcels, totaling just over 20 acres, to be sold over the next few years, prompting a new discussion about the future of the rest of Juniper Ridge. 

Of the 1,500 acres, 500 is within the city's urban growth boundary and 300 of that is within the Juniper Ridge Employment Sub-District. 

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