New rental housing on the horizon on large undeveloped lot in Bend

Posted on in category Local tagged bend , Building , Development , Growth , Local , Our Town , Permits

New rental housing is underway in the area of Wilson Ave. and 15th St. Find out more here.

By Suzanne Roig, Bend Bulletin 

Rental housing is being planned on a 32.75-acre parcel where Wilson Avenue and 15th Street intersect that could be move-in ready over the next couple of years.

Construction could begin in late 2023 after the owners, Evergreen Housing Development Group, move forward with amending the original master plan to remove the commercial development that was previously approved. The Bend City Council adopted the project concept in 2015. The property was listed for sale for $10.9 million and sold in January.

The Wildflower Planned Development will be 574 homes — three-story walk-up apartments, townhomes, cottage-style single-family homes and duplexes — residential community with a small commercial area, said Jim Stephens, Evergreen Housing Development Group executive managing director.

Providing more housing in Bend is important to sustaining the community’s growth, said Damon Runberg, Oregon Employment Department regional economist. A housing shortage means new workers coming from outside the community cannot find a place to live, leaving employers at a loss to fill vacant positions.

“The answer to more affordable housing is to build more housing,” Runberg said. “Apartment complexes, in-fill, condominiums, townhomes, and yes, even more single-family homes need to be part of the solution.

“Building more apartments will help provide more affordable options for many residents who are being priced out of the local real estate market.”

The median sales price of a single family home in Bend in February was $740,000, according to the monthly Beacon Report, produced by the Beacon Appraisal Group in Redmond. The average rental rate in Bend for an 888-square-foot apartment was $1,803, according to Rentcafe.com, an internet rental market tracking website.

The Wildflower Planned Development is one of several so-called in-fill projects on pockets of vacant land scattered throughout the city. Others are small and all contribute to the overall housing mix, said Mike Donaca, SELCO Community Credit Union’s vice president of commercial and business banking.

“I like the growth. I’m excited for it,” Donaca said. “We need workforce housing. We’ll end up pushing folks out of the area to La Pine, Redmond or Madras. Then they’ll end up driving and commuting.

“We’re seeing a lot of stuff coming on line here at SELCO, but most of it is in the Eugene, Springfield and Portland areas. We’re seeing very little in Bend.”

The credit union has about $75 million invested in multi-family projects, compared to about a year ago when there was about $10 million, Donaca said.

Evergreen Housing, a Seattle-based development firm, presented its vision to the Larkspur neighborhood in November. At that time, the vision included plans to reduce the commercial element in the master plan and focus on the smaller area dedicated to commercial use.

At that presentation, the community suggested creating a food car area with seating in the commercial spot, Stephens said. Construction is expected to begin in the spring/summer of 2023, Stephens said.

The property, which abuts the Pinewood Natural Area, will include trails linking the Coyner Trail to the Larkspur Trail.

“We shared what our plans were,” Stephens said. “We’re working on a for-rent community. We think it’s a great way to bring needed housing to a community that needs housing.”

The project will be built in phases and includes onsite parking and a clubhouse.

This will be company’s fourth rental project in Bend, Stephens said. The company acquired and renovated the 204-unit complex called The commons at Pilot Butte and built the 205 unit Outlook at Pilot Butte. About to be completed is the 141-unit project called The Eddy on SW Bradbury Way, which is pre-leasing units.

“This is a long term investment for us,” Stephens said. “These will be market-priced housing.”

Currently plans are in the works for a roundabout to be built at the intersection of SE Wilson Avenue and SE 15th Street. SE Wilson Street will be extended to the east, according to a presentation to the community.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE