Bend’s Newest Retail Center Rises in North

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(Photo above: (L-R) Mack DuBose, Principal, First Western Development; Scott Shanks, Principal, First Western Development; Lonnie Brant, Superintendent, R&H Construction; Amanda Bolender, Project Engineer, R&H Construction; Gary North, Vice President & Owner, R&H Construction | Photo by Cascade Business News)

Robal Road Village Roster Includes Popular Southern-Style Restaurants

The finishing touches are being put to Bend’s newest retail center, the $10 million Robal Road Village along the east side of North Hwy 97, featuring a “synergistic” slate of tenants including several nationally-known names new to the community.

Nearing completion just over a year after breaking ground, the 55,000 sq ft boutique shopping center sits on 6.5 acres with prime highway frontage and consists of a cluster of seven buildings and 14 storefronts housing businesses ranging from Ulta Beauty, which is now open, to upcoming popular chain eateries Cracker Barrel and Chick fil-A — all new entrants to the Central Oregon market.

Other occupants at various stages of readiness lined up for the complex, which is already close to 80 per cent leased, include Mod Pizza, pet supply store Mud Bay, BedMart, Gentle Dental, T-Mobile, Black Rock Coffee and the upscale Trail’s End Liquor, though the latter is contingent on co-tenant approval.

Remaining available space includes two in-line suites, and a corner building pad which could likely accommodate another restaurant, or a bank, with drive-through capacity.

General Contractor for the project is R&H Construction, which has successfully teamed with owners First Western Development Services, Inc. – a privately held company out of Edmonds, WA – on numerous retail complex ventures spanning the North West over the last two decades, and design was overseen by Portland-based Baysinger Partners Architecture.

First Western partner Scott Shanks said his company had worked with previous owners of the property, the Pape family, over a number of years and originally the plan was for a much larger big-box style development in the vicinity, but economic fluctuations and highway re-route plans impacting the overall site saw the project scaled down to its current iteration.

He said, “It actually worked out well as the traditional big box stores have been facing challenges due to increased online retail competition, and we are moving more towards projects like this which feature a complimentary mix of niche tenants that offer an in-person shopping experience.”

Shanks said that the project was customized for the Bend market, with a North West design feel and architectural appeal, and was one of the most expensive projects ever undertaken by First Western in the context of cost per square foot.

He added that the development incorporated a number of sustainable, energy-efficient features including LED lighting throughout, with a view as landlord to being a “responsible partner with tenants” and trying to minimize Common Area Maintenance and overall associated property operating costs.

The first stores to be unveiled at Robal Road Village are the 10,000 sq ft Ulta Beauty, which has a grand opening February 9, and a T-Mobile location. Black Rock Coffee and Gentle Dental are set to be ready for business some time next month, with remaining occupants under construction or obtaining permits in preparation for 2018 openings.

The largest tenant anchoring the center is Cracker Barrel, which expects to open in the fall, while Chick-fil-A is tracking for launch by year-end.

Chick-fil-A, the Georgia-based fried chicken sandwich chain, has recently begun expansion into the Oregon market. The company was founded in Atlanta in 1964 and operates more than 1,900 restaurants in 42 states.

Cracker Barrel, another restaurant chain known for its Southern-inspired menu and decor, as well as wrap-around porches and large gift shops, is also making inroads into Oregon, to expand its footprint of more than 600 locations nation-wide.

Both companies have made expanding to the Western United States a priority in recent years. A company filing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that one of Cracker Barrel’s long-term goals is expanding into new parts of the country, with a recent annual report adding, “Recently, our target markets have been expanded to include markets that are outside of our existing core markets and in states where we currently do not have existing operations …”

R&H VP Gary North said one of the biggest challenges with the project was preparing the ground for construction as previously the property served as a dumping ground for fill dirt, boulders and other items.

He said, “That was part of an old dump site when Pape owned it, and we had to take out around 300 yards of unconsolidated fill, old rubble and the like that needed to be excavated and re-compacted, which added around another $1 million to the
project costs.

“This turned out to be a great project with an experienced and very professional collaborative team who really know what they are doing.

“The village concept with somewhat smaller specialist retailers in a synergistic relationship is a great fit for the community and I think adds some much needed amenities to the growing northern corridor of town.”

A spokesman for Baysinger Partners Architecture added, “Even with the rise of online purchasing, retail architecture offers a place to connect with people that sell products and services as well as the ability to touch, look and
investigate products.

“Retail is about experience more than ever before and in healthy, active retail spaces, goods, services, and ideas are exchanged, creating value for work and the experience of a place.”

R&H Construction has been building successful commercial construction projects throughout the Pacific Northwest since 1979. Locally owned and operated with offices in Portland and Bend, Ore., R&H has a diverse portfolio ranging from small commercial remodels to large scale ground-up office buildings, retail developments and multifamily communities.

Robal Road Village is located at 63450 N Hwy. 97, Bend.

Robal Road Village
63450 N HWY 97, Bend, OR 97701
Property Owner/Developer: First Western Development Services Inc.
Contractor: R&H Construction Co.
Project Manager: Brendon Warren, R&H, Duane Francis, R&H
Superintendent: Lonnie Brant, R&H
Engineer: Amanda Bolender, R&H
Architect: Baysinger Partners Architecture PC
Principal Architect: Melinda VerMeer
Engineer: Grant Hardgrave, Hickman, Williams & Assoc Inc.; Ryan McFadden, Kittelson & Associates
Subcontractors and Suppliers:
Advanced Precast Products LLC, Bell Hardware of Bend, Bend Commercial Glass, Bend Electric Inc., Botanical Developments, Burkhardt Painting & Design LLC, Carlson Sign Co, CCI Bend LLC, Custom Tint LLC, Eagle Roofing Co, Energy Conservation Insulation Co., Fabulous Floors Inc, Farwest Steel Reinforcing Company, G & K Masonry, Inc., GH Surveying, LLC, Jack Robinson & Sons Inc, Joe Floyd and Sons, Inc., LDC Inc, LETS Construction Cleaning, Inc., M E Westfall Painting Inc, Metolius River Plumbing, Mike’s Fence Center Inc, National Construction Rentals, Inc., North Country Building Specialties, Northwest Framing Systems Inc, Northwest Quality Construction Inc, Old World Cobblestone Inc, Outwest Builders LLC, Overhead Door/Central Oregon, Quality Heating, River Roofing Bend, LLC, Severson Fire Protection Inc, Severson Plumbing & Mech Inc, Sunburst Fabrications Inc., Szymanski Company LLC, Taylor Drilling & Contracting, Tomco Electric Inc, We Cut Concrete Inc

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Simon Mather CBN Feature Writer

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