((L-R) Harmony Byrne (LRS), Kristy Thompson (SWB), John Gilbert (PCAH), Jeff Dirks (SWB), Rob Roy (PCAH), Katy Bowles (PCAH) and Jim Landin (LRS) | Photo by Cascade Business News)
Pacific Crest’s 48-Unit Canal Commons II Model of Affordability & Sustainability
The pioneering path of award-winning developers Pacific Crest Affordable Housing has reached a new milestone with Canal Commons II, a 48-unit apartment community in North East Bend geared toward family living.
The project, expected to be fully move-in ready by next month, forms the second phase of the 5.2-acre site’s development and consists of a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units for families and workforce households, with rents set at less than 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).
Phase one of Canal Commons, off Empire Avenue, also comprising 48 units, was finished at the end of 2019 and fully leased by February 2021 with a waiting list of over 200 households, illustrating the continuing soaring demand for more affordable housing in the area.
With construction costs topping $11.3 million, Canal Commons II spans two 24-unit three-story buildings featuring impressive views of the Cascade Mountains, the adjacent canal and close proximity to the 127-acre Pine Nursery public park — the largest in Bend’s park system, boasting boasts expansive green space with a disc golf course, dog park and trails, plus athletic fields and courts. Residents can also enjoy balconies and easy access to surrounding schools, various shops and services.
The project amenities include laundry facilities, a commons building with community room and warming kitchen, meeting room, fitness room, outdoor patio area, playground and raised-bed gardens.
The new apartment community was designed by the Bend office of LRS Architects and constructed by general contractor SunWest Builders. It is Pacific Crest Affordable Housing’s fifth such project in Bend, including senior living facilities such as Discovery Park Lodge in NorthWest Crossing, and eighth in Central Oregon overall.
As with other PCAH projects, a high degree of sustainability and energy-efficient design and construction has been interwoven throughout the development. Canal Commons II includes super high-efficiency air source heating/cooling, Energy Recovery Ventilation for all units, solar-generated electricity and solar-heated water, triple pane equivalent windows, dual flush toilets and drought-tolerant landscaping.
Rob Roy, Pacific Crest Affordable Housing co-operating manager, said, “Not only are we producing high-quality affordable housing, but we are also utilizing as many sustainable building practices as we can incorporate into the project.
“In affordable housing ventures like this, with restricted rents, operating costs can increase more than rents are able to, so a major motivation is to cover each energy-efficient base — including being creative in identifying every such source and incentive — as a hedge against rising utility costs for the long term.
“Of course, this is important in the affordable housing sector, to be able to pass on cost savings, but it also goes back to the fundamentals that it is just good design practice and this project, like our other buildings, will stand the test of time.
“It is also important to us to provide housing that our residents can be proud of and feel that they are part of a larger effort creating a positive impact on their surroundings.”
Recognizing that developers have an obligation to both the community and the environment, Roy said Pacific Crest Affordable Housing has put substantial effort into maximizing the efficiency of projects, particularly important in stabilizing operating costs as Canal Commons II utilities are included in rents.
He said each project had implemented progressively more impactful sustainability features and Canal Commons would be providing some 300kw of power through solar infrastructure, including expansive arrays, and energy net efficiency measures would reduce the project’s energy consumption by 75-80 percent from Oregon’s code minimum.
Other sustainable features used throughout our buildings include insulated concrete form walls, innovative truss design and thermal breaks. Lighting is 90 percent sensor-controlled and 100 percent LED, and all the appliances are Energy Star-qualified.
With a combination of ecologically considerate design and thoughtfully implemented amenities, the features build on Pacific Crest’s sustainability goals, with the aim of achieving Earth Advantage Platinum Rating — the organization’s highest level.
As the population of Bend continues to surge, growing from 76,000 in 2010 to some 111,000 by 2020, and market values have climbed, affordable housing has increasingly become harder to come by for working families.
Roy added, “We are committed to creating solutions that allow residents to remain in their communities among families and friends and near their jobs for the long term.
“This is our eighth project involving leveraging tax credit incentives to fund development which has helped us to provide over 300 local affordable housing units in our hometown of Bend.”
Pacific Crest acquired the original site for the Canal Commons development from the City of Bend for competitive value after its proposal for the parcel won out over two other submitted designs through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process following review by the council’s Affordable Housing Committee.
Pacific Crest co-owner John Gilbert said, “We are pleased with the level of commitment our partners, including the City of Bend, have shown in supporting the creation of more affordable housing, and Pacific Crest Affordable Housing since our inception in 2005 has continued to build under our core principles of sustainability, livability, health and wellness, and of course, affordability.
“The State of Oregon and the City of Bend continue to have a shortage of affordable housing, and we are working diligently to provide more housing opportunities to our community,” Gilbert continued. “To Pacific Crest, low-income housing doesn’t mean low-quality housing. In fact, we believe quite the opposite, so we have followed the same mission since the beginning: create high-quality projects such as Canal Commons II that seamlessly blend affordability, aesthetics and energy savings.
“The result is buildings with progressively impactful sustainability features that provide not only dignified but also desirable housing options for low-income residents of Central Oregon. We believe that everyone deserves not just a place to live, but a comfortable, secure and affordable place to live that provides a foundation for them to reach their full potential.
“Such is the evident demand for living options such as this, that we could have filled this complex several times over.”
Funding for both phases of Canal Commons was realized through investments backed by Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits which subsidize the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income tenants. Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), City of Bend and private lenders are also investors.
The apartment community on Thornhill Lane is administered through Viridian Management and Pacific Crest, like many affordable housing developers, was able to secure a 20-year property tax exemption for the development
“We have done several projects in the affordable housing sector with Pacific Crest in Central Oregon and each is unique in its own way and utilizes a different model,” Project Architect Jim Landin said. “This one is designed in a more contemporary style, built as three-story walk-ups with entry from exterior stairways, which families, in particular, prefer versus the elevator with interior hallways model.
“We have been part of the team with Sun West on Pacific Crest’s properties for 20 years and after working on so many projects together everyone knows their responsibilities and how to carry them out. It is a fantastic collaborative team and we learn something each time.”
About Pacific Crest Affordable Housing:
Pacific Crest Affordable Housing, LLC is an award-winning developer of high-quality housing for low-income tenants in Central Oregon. These projects are public-private partnerships, funded with various combinations of public funds, private investment, grants, loans and in-kind contributions. Five of the seven projects are restricted to seniors (aged 55 and better), and all are income restricted to serve households earning 60 percent of the Area Median Income or less. Pacific Crest aims to locate its projects in some of the most desirable neighborhoods in the communities in which they are located to foster a seamless blend of low-income housing with the rest of the community.
Canal Commons Phase 2
Thornhill Ln., Bend, OR 97701
Property Owner/Developer: Pacific Crest Affordable Housing
Contractor: SunWest Builders
Project Cost: $11M
Sitework Start: August 2, 2021
Completion: December 9, 2022
Square Footage: 48,848 sq. ft.
Amenities: Quantity two, three-story apartment buildings — one 12 unit building, one 36 units — total of 48 units, wood framed. Solar rooftop units plus high energy efficiency design and construction. Second, and final phase of the Canal Commons 96 unit apartment campus.
Financing: First Interstate Bank
Project Manager: Kristy Thompson
Supervisor: Jeff Dirks
Architect: GL3 Architects
Principal Architect: Jim Landin
Structural Engineer: Ashley & Vance
Civil Engineer: Ashley & Vance
Mechanical Engineer: ColeBreit Engineering
Plumbing Engineer: CEA Consulting Engineers
Geo Engineering: Carlson Testing & Engineering
Landscape Architect: Land Effects
Subcontractors and Suppliers: 7 Peaks Paving, AM-1 Roofing Inc., Anderson Clark Interiors, Baxter Builders, Bell Hardware, Bend Commercial Glass, Bend Electric Inc., Cascade Civil Corp., Cascade Painting & Design, CCI Bend, LLC, Ceniga’s Masonry, Central Oregon Trim & Door, Central Oregon Waterproofing, Custom Plus Heating, Diamond Concrete Products, Double F Welding, Fabulous Floors, Foster Creek Construction, Gail Contractor Services, Guarantee Glass & Mirror, Johnson Brothers Appliances, Lakeview Millwork Sales, Miller Lumber, McLean Concrete Construction, Mike’s Fence Center, North Country Building Specialties, Northwest Laundry Supply, Pavement Protectors, Platinum Exteriors, Resist-All Seamless Gutters, Severson Fire Protection, Shamrock Northwest Construction, Sign Pro, Solid Rock Masonry, Springtime Landscape & Irrigation, Sunburst Fabrication, Superior Garage Floors, Teck Plumbing, Tye Engineering & Surveying, Ultra Quiet Floors