(Photo and Rendering courtesy of City of Bend)
DVA Leaves Long-Time Bend Downtown Location for Emerging Euro-Style Hub
A long-time downtown Bend ad agency has set up shop in the heart of the emerging Bend Central District, taking a lead in fulfilling a potential future vision of a vibrant urban hub for the area.
After 30-plus years of doing business in downtown above the iconic Goody’s ice cream parlor, DVA Advertising & Public Relations has moved to a new two-story building on Hawthorne Avenue.
“Our decision to build in the central district was mostly related to the city and the community vision for that space,” DVA Partner and Public Relations Director Justin Yax commented at a recent open house to showcase the new location. “We were told that the city was using the Pearl District in Portland as the model and that was appealing to us.”
The Bend Central District — an area roughly bounded by Fourth Street, the Bend Parkway, Revere Avenue and the Third Street underpass — is one of the four opportunity areas that were recently included in the new Urban Renewal/Tax Increment Financing area.
Allison Platt, Bend Core Area project manager, said, “Our vision is this is an opportunity for the Third Street commercial strip to transition to a mixed-use area and the intent is for higher density, intense land use, higher buildings that mirrors the downtown.” That means the area will embrace taller buildings, rather than sprawled out one-story buildings, and a mixture of business and residential uses.
Other businesses pioneering further development including Oregon Spirit Distillers, Sunlight Solar Energy and Brooks Resources Corp. have also relocated to the central district. “The goal is for the core to house more of our residential needs,” Platt said. “We want to put more people in walkable and bike-able areas of the city. We’ve been focusing on this for the past six years.
“This area will gradually transition to an urban feel and be a place where people can live, work, play in the center of the city. There’s a lot of activity in the area.”
Brooks Resources is considering building a 130-unit housing development with mixed use in the area.
Platt added that by creating a special district, the city can stimulate development by offering tax increment financing through its urban renewal plan. “We’re trying to be intentional about development,” she said. “This is different than tax incentives. It subsidizes companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance development in an area.”
The Bend Central District has the potential to be a hotbed of creative and progressive thinking that fits with the vision of DVA, Yax said. “Advertising agencies tend to be a creative and progressive type of environment that fits the vision of the area. There is a lot of momentum around the Bend Central District and this is an example of what can be accomplished as we start to realize the vision for this under-utilized district.”
The brand new mixed use facility also contains co-tenant the Imagine Stoneworks retail showroom and fabrication facility on the ground floor and DVA office space on the upper floor.
Drawing inspiration from Portland’s famous Pearl District and the walkability of European communities, the Bend Central District (BCD) is envisioned as a mixed-use residential and commercial hub in the heart of what is acknowledged as one of the fastest-growing small cities in the USA.
Located immediately east of historic downtown Bend, the confluence of support and direction by Federal, State and local governments makes the BCD one of the more compelling investment opportunities in the American West.
At the Federal level, the BCD has been designated an Opportunity Zone that financially encourages investment in America’s urban cores. At the Oregon State level, the City of Bend was approved to adopt their expanded Urban Growth Boundary which saw a rezoning of the BCD allowing for mixed-use development up to 85ft in height.
And at the local level, Bend’s City Council voted to create a Core Area Urban Renewal District in 2020 to leverage Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the BCD which will directly fund infrastructure improvements such as pedestrian bridges, streetscapes, sidewalk improvements and the like.
Furthermore, Bend’s City Council recently voted to adopt a new development code for the BCD which allows for more dense and advantageous building options for developers.
With the State’s support, as well as Bend’s City Council endorsement and specifically earmarked funding for the Midtown Crossings project including the pedestrian Hawthorne Bridge, the livability of the BCD has the potential to increase exponentially.
The BCD Initiative is building momentum and support for the Bend Central District’s transformation into a vibrant, healthy and inclusive mixed-use neighborhood with safe connections between east and west Bend is increasing, including through the example of companies like DVA.
A BCD spokesperson added, “We founded the Bend Central District Initiative to promote the community’s vision for the Bend Central District to become a bustling neighborhood where people live, work and play within walking distance of local businesses, grocery stores, parks, schools, Hawthorne Transit Station and Historic Downtown Bend.
“We collaborate and partner with a wide variety of community organizations and local businesses who support this vision, including Brooks Resources Corporation, KellCon Construction, Central Oregon Community College, the Central Oregon Association of Realtors, Council on Aging of Central Oregon, Orchard District Neighborhood Association, Ashley & Vance Engineering, Oregon Spirit Distillers and Sunlight Solar.”
Yax added, “The city has articulated a vision for pedestrian and bike-friendly connectivity for the area, and it would be good to see more redevelopment occur around our project.”
The Bend Central District (BCD) is in the heart of our rapidly growing city and has enormous potential to provide more housing and jobs near existing businesses, services and activities that make up a livable, walkable community while protecting Central Oregon’s natural beauty from sprawl.
Zoning in the subject area has already been changed to allow apartments and four- to six-story mixed-use buildings, but missing sidewalks, limited crosswalks, few trees and insufficient lighting have previously made the streets in the BCD unwelcoming and unsafe for customers, families and potential residents.
But with the infrastructure incentives, by 2040, city leaders hope the Bend Central District could be a bustling neighborhood where people live, work and play within walking distance of local businesses, grocery stores, parks, schools, Hawthorne Transit Station and Historic Downtown Bend.
The BCD was created in December 2016 to encourage denser redevelopment, allowing taller buildings and a wide range of commercial uses, including hotels, restaurants and clinics. Residences are permitted as part of mixed- use buildings.