(Photos above: Left: Immersion Brewing | Photo Courtesy of Immersion Brewing — Right: Box Factory | Photo by Jewel Images)
Bend’s eclectic and evolving Box Factory in the increasingly hip Mill Quarter area sandwiched between the Old Mill District and downtown, is upping its profile with plans in the works to create a pedestrian walkway along its 500 foot stretch fronting Arizona Avenue.
Jeremy McPherson — development manager overseeing the mixed use Mecca for property owners Portland/Vancouver-based commercial real-estate development and investment company Killian Pacific — said the new thirty foot-wide promenade would heighten exposure and accessibility for a varied slate of tenants in an area that was previously thought of as “the back of the project” including a trio of new users set to occupy the former Oregon CrossFit space.
He said, “Arizona Avenue is changing from its previous perception as an arterial primarily just to get over to Highway 97 and is taking on more of a retail orientation with places such as Market of Choice and other commercial outlets in that area.
“Once the walkway is in place, tenants will be able to take advantage of the greater accessibility and visibility with more people passing by and stopping, as well as having increased opportunities to use additional space for outdoor seating and so forth
“We have the opportunity to revitalize that frontage and have the public interface in different ways and it is an opportune step as we have a lot of leasing activity coming up.
“Much of the property around Arizona is being rezoned from more traditional industrial activity to mixed use so the writing was on the wall as far as that sector’s direction goes.”
A large swath of the surrounding area is transitioning to a new “Mixed-Use Urban Zone” (MU) which the City of Bend’s website describes as being “intended to provide opportunities for vibrant mixed-use centers and districts in areas with high-quality connectivity to and within the area”, and to “allow for a denser level of development of a variety of commercial and residential uses than in surrounding areas with an emphasis on retail and entertainment uses at the street level.”
The MU zone is additionally intended to provide for development that is supportive of transit by encouraging a pedestrian-friendly environment.
McPherson said he and his company were closely invested in, and dedicated to, optimizing the synergy of the project and were careful with selection of tenants to ensure compatibility with the overall complex, which currently boasts a number of home-grown businesses such as Atlas Cider Co., Immersion Brewing, The Brown Owl restaurant, Bend Tour Company and Webcyclery.
Among new upcoming tenants is the River Pig Saloon and Restaurant which currently has a location in Portland’s toney northwest Pearl District, where it describes itself as “a lively neighborhood sports bar with an old-timey atmosphere preparing creative & classic pub grub”.
The name River Pig is actually taken from the slang term used to describe lumberjacks who used to live in what is now the Pearl district and would float timber downstream to the sawmills.
Other additions to the Box Factory roster off Industrial Way will include healthy bowl/juicing concept Fix & Repeat and an expanded location for Bend favorite Foxtail Bakeshop which will see owner Nickol Hayden-Cady move from a Columbia Street location “bursting at the seams” and allow her to add bread to a stellar pastry portfolio.
McPherson said that upcoming plans for the development included “one more restaurant’ with the focus there-after switching to more commercial retail operations.
He added, “The whole area including the Hooker Creek properties is going to see more urbanization.
“We own five acres to the east of the Box factory and are in the pre-development phase of a mixed use concept there which will feature flexible ground floor space that could accommodate uses such as retail/service amenities, office showroom and light manufacturing, with a residential component above, which should come online by early 2018.
“We see that section of Bend as an important part of town spanning the confluence of Hwy 97 and the Arizona east-west couplet and Bend/Wall couplets leading to downtown, providing a key interface with a lot of people circulating.
“Newer developments have included the Base Camp condominiums, Springhill Suites hotel and tech-friendly office building Crane Shed Commons as well as nearby parks and recreation amenities like the Whitewater Park and Pavilion
“It is something of a gateway between downtown and the Old Mill District with its own evolving flavor and we have a good opportunity to continue to build out in a in style that fits and we do not deviate from the philosophy of doing things right.
The property, formerly known as The Old Mill Marketplace, was purchased and redeveloped by Killian Pacific in 2013. It was the last remaining box factory building in Bend.
Originally built in 1916, the Brooks-Scanlon box factory made wooden boxes for fruit, milk, soap, cereal and other goods, and was renamed last year to celebrate the building’s centennial.
The Box factory is currently home to over thirty businesses and the main property consists of three buildings totaling 84,000 square feet, which offer unique and creative spaces for a variety of uses.