A relationship that began more than 17 years ago with Walt Ramage’s very first transaction of his commercial real estate career, came full circle in April of 2022 with the off-market sale of Brookswood Meadow Plaza. Walt and co-broker, Jeff Reed were recently named in Central Oregon Association of Realtors’ Commercial Transaction of the Year award for their work in this transaction.
Walt met Scott and Kristy Lovejoy in late 2006. The entrepreneurial couple moved from the LA area back to Kristy’s hometown of Bend. Through mutual friends, Walt helped Kristy lease a small office space, Walt’s first commercial real estate transaction.
Walt maintained a close relationship with the pair so when he had an idea for a community center on the south end of town, he knew just who to talk to. “I pitched the deal to Scott on March 1st of 2007 on the Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook. It was the opening day of Bull Trout season.”
Scott took the bait. His family lived off Brookswood. The neighborhood was growing rapidly but with no services to speak of. The Lovejoys had a legacy of family-owned and operated grocery stores in Michigan since the late 1800s, so Scott introduced CE Lovejoy’s as the anchor tenant to the proposed center.
Walt, Kristy, Scott, and several other small investors closed on the land in July of 2007 and started moving ground in October. Brookswood Meadow Plaza opened in 2009 (ahead of time and under budget.) The 51,000 SF center was home to anchor tenant CE Lovejoy’s, Snap Fitness and Toddles Preschool. When the real estate market halted in the recession, the Lovejoy’s absorbed Walt’s interest in the project.
“The plaza was something my late husband and I built with the intention of building, growing and selling,” seller Kristy Lovejoy said. In 2017, the family was dealt a devastating blow when Scott passed away. The Lovejoys, including Travis, Scott’s son, and Bev Timm, Kristy’s mother-in-law, owned and operated the center until the sale in 2022.
Another well-rooted Bend family was making moves across town. Jeff Reed referred Bob Bennett, daughter Katrina Petrescu and Kristina’s husband Rob Petrescu to a multi-tenant investment property at Ninth and Wilson which could also house their commercial property management business in 2013.
Over the next ten years, Jeff helped the family acquire several properties throughout Bend including industrial properties off Boyd Acres and in Prineville. In late 2021, Bob came to Jeff with a 1031 deadline and a large exchange to facilitate. Internally, Jeff and Walt put their heads together to come up with the best fit; Brookswood Meadow Plaza.
“When Walt came to me with this deal, it sounded like the buyer had similar character to my husband. I think that’s why Walt thought of me,” said Kristy. “The plaza is a community center, and it was imperative to me that the buyer viewed it that way and continued to operate it that way,” she added.
“We had put our heart and soul into it and the community down there,” said Bev. “We wanted to keep it locally owned and have the tenants treated the same way as we treat everyone. That made it a seamless transaction. They (the buyers) didn’t want anyone to even notice that it had changed hands so it means a lot to me that it will be managed the same way that we managed it.”
The transaction closed in April of 2022 though Bev and Kristy retained ownership and operation of Scott’s legacy, CE Lovejoy’s. Now, as tenants, they retain a close relationship with the new owner and other tenants in the plaza. “Rob (buyer) is a coach at Bend High School. My husband was born and raised here and coached at Bend until he retired,” said Bev who enjoys that connection to the buyer and the community.
“Scott would have loved the fact that Walt was the one that sold it,” Bev continued. “We loved him as a partner. He’s a great guy. For him to bring us the deal and be the person who sold this in the end was a Godsend.”
When asked what Walt brought to the transaction, Kristy, and Bev both replied emphatically, “EVERYTHING.” Bev praised Walt saying, “I don’t know that I’ve met someone in all my 65 years like Walt. He exemplifies everything that this world should be professionally and personally. Though I wasn’t an owner per se, he never treated me like anything other than that. He walked us through so much over the years.”
Kristy said, “He brought analytical data, financial consulting, and handholding.” Through tears she added, “He brought kindness and thoughtfulness in the tone and demeanor of remembering who my husband was.”
“Walt and my husband had such a mutual respect for each other,” continued Kristy. “It felt like circling back to close the loop on something that was unfinished.”