Plans are progressing for a prospective four-story 106-room Marriott Springhill Suites hotel in Bend’s Old Mill District on the site of the former “Crane Shed” building off SW Industrial Way, with construction tentatively scheduled for spring of next year.
Earlier this year, Montana-based Braxton Development received City Planning Commission approvals for a master plan outlining the proposed 75,000 square foot hotel and conference center – which would be a brand of the Marriott International family of hotels “aimed towards the upper-moderate-priced, all-suite lodging segment of the industry”.
It is slated to feature custom finishes and river views, with amenities including a modern lounge and patio, indoor pool and spa, expansive fitness area and 15,000 square feet of conference space.
The hotel would sit on the easterly portion of a 4.3 acre parcel which has been the subject of controversy and stalled development efforts since the turn of the millennium.
The site once housed the eponymous distinctive red-painted crane shed building which accommodated towering equipment used to stack millions of board feet of lumber during the area’s sawmill heyday, until the timber market downturn in the latter part of the 20th Century.
In the late 1990s it housed a beverage distribution company until being sold to a local group who provoked widespread outrage in 2004 after tearing the building down without a permit under cover of night, for which they were subsequently sued.
As the real estate market sizzled, the property was sold to developers the Trono Group for some $5 million in 2005 and ambitious plans were put forward for a multi-story mixed-use project dubbed The Mercato set to feature retail, restaurant, office and condo space.
But the tailwinds of the Great Recession derailed the venture, eventually leading to lender foreclosure proceeding after which local investor Cal Cannon purchased the property for $1.42 million in 2011.
The site had a historic designation related to the former building’s ties to Bend’s industrial roots, and the prospective developers still have to follow protocol to have it removed from the Landmarks Commission registry, but, given the eradication of the prior architectural significance, proponents are hopeful that can be negotiated, perhaps in consideration of some potential monument installation commemorating the historical lumber mill connection.
If plans proceed as anticipated it is likely that the relevant east portion would be partitioned off to the hotel developers, with the balance of the site spanning approximately two acres being explored as possibly housing a 50,000 square foot commercial/office building.