All in the Family: Borden’s Corner Renovation a Tribute to Owner’s Mother


med_exteriorBorden’s Corner is more than just a beautifully renovated building — it’s a tribute and the realization of a mother’s last dream for her business.

Wanda Borden owned and operated the Pilot Butte AutoRama and Action Auto Glass shop on Highway 20 for almost 10 years before falling ill and eventually succumbing to an aneurysm, but her dream to open up something “new and different” in the location has been carried out by her daughter Cindy Borden-Knutzen and son-in-law Dave Knutzen.

“Several months before she died unexpectedly … she had decided to close the Action Auto Glass business, as she was quite unhappy with the management and sales and felt we should look at the possibility of changing from automotive to retail,” Borden-Knutzen said. “So she sent me on my way to look at designs and ideas.”

The result, although Wanda Borden did not live to see it, is a complete renovation of her 14,200 square foot L-shaped building, along with the addition of a brand new 3,000 square foot building. Eleven retail units were created between both the buildings and total cost of the project was $2.2 million.

Designed by architect Neal Huston, the buildings have two-toned brick facade, metal overhangs and copper-colored metal topped cupolas that set the retail center apart from many others in the area. It’s not your average strip mall.

“I suppose the most unique thing about the project is that the majority of the scope work, other than the added corner building, is a redux and recycle of an existing structure and a change in use for the site,” Huston said. “Secondly, the client’s commitment to the use of quality, low maintenance materials and their willingness to adhere to the originally proposed design character is heartening.”

R & H Construction was chosen to complete the project and Project Manager Adam Bowles said the building was gutted entirely and the roof replaced, along with cupolas added and some other special work to transform the building from automotive to retail.

“Since it was an automotive based business before, we had to go in and upgrade the dry wells to meet Department of Environmental Quality requirements,” Bowles said. “So you basically go in and install a storm filtration cartridge system that ties in upstream with the dry well and then we had to abandon one dry well. But that has to do with the differences between twelve years ago when the site was built out to what the standards are now.”

Bowles said he took special enjoyment working on the project because of its history and meaning to the owners.

“It’s been neat working with Cindy and Dave, because this family had owned this property for quite awhile and that was really intriguing to me,” he said. “Taking an existing building that her mother had developed and making improvements to it. I think it really stands out here, too. You’re seeing a lot of improvements along this Highway 20 corridor and it’s been neat being a part of that.”

Huston said he is satisfied that the building design meets all requirements the Knutzens’ requested.

“The design concept for the project sprang from the client’s instruction that we transition the then Pilot Butte AutoRama site into an active, vibrant commercial and retail center which would contribute positively to the visual vitality of the east side,” Huston said. “The aspects of the resulting project which probably appeal to me most are that the center visually attracts the attention of passers by, as a commercial and retail facility should, but that it also appears to fit comfortably in the context of the surrounding neighborhood.”

The larger building already has two tenants, West Coast Bank and Longboard Louie’s, and Indigos Smoothies will soon become the first tenant of the separate building. Only two spaces are still available for lease.

Mark Beardsley, vice president and district manager for West Coast Bank, said the location and beautiful design were what prompted the bank to not only lease a space, but also finance the project.

“What I liked is that there’s another new center next to us and I knew the two centers would just bring synergy to each other because they are both well done,” Beardsley said. “I love the look of this center, with the cupolas and the architecture and everything is attractive. And the way it’s laid out is easy. It’s easy to come in for the drive up the way it’s set up. It just works well. And the Forum Shopping Center with Costco and Safeway is just across the street.”

Beardsley said the new branch is an excellent extension of what West Coast Bank started on the east side.

“It’s the little things,” he said. “Cindy was really good about listening to different ideas we would have, whether it was making sure that we have electricity in the plant area so we can put up little white lights at Christmastime to expanding the seating area over there by Longboard Louie’s because I think it’s going to be a really popular area.”

Borden-Knutzen said she is proud of her mother’s business savvy and hopes she can continue the legacy.

“Wanda Borden is a hard act to follow,” she said. “And no one could actually fill her shoes, but she taught me many a great lesson on life, business and the way of the world.”

Borden’s Corner is located at 62080 and 62090 Dean Swift Road, just off of Highway 20.

Borden’s Corner

Developer: Dave Knutzen and Cindy Borden-Knutzen
Contractor: R & H Construction
Architect: Neal Huston and Associates Architects Inc.
Square Footage: 17,000
Financing: West Coast Bank
Subcontractors and Suppliers: Architectural Specialties, Inc., Aurora Painting, Inc., Bell Hardware, Bend Commercial Glass, Brent Woodward, Inc., Carlson Sign, Farwest Steel Corp., Gowdy Bros. Electric Inc., Hathaway’s Inc., High Desert Concrete Pumping, High Desert Security & Fire, Hooker Creek, Carlson Testing, Cascade Heating & Specialties, David Evans & Associates, Inc., Davis Insulation Company, Double Diamond Masonry, Eagle Roofing Co., Hooker Creek Asphalt & Paving LLC, I & J Carpets, Inc., Instafab Company, Inc., JBA Construction, Inc., Knight Mechanical, Lets Construction Cleaning, Marvin Mix Company, McMurray & Sons Roofing, Inc., Michael’s Precast Concrete, North Country Building Specialties, Pacific Lumber & Truss, S.A.C. Enterprises LLC, Siteworks Excavation, Smith Crane, Inc., We Cut Concrete Co., Western Protective Coatings, Whitestar Enterprises, LLC, Wilson Curb.


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