City extends land-sale deadline

Bend agreed to sell property for $1.9 million to developer

By Hillary Borrud / The Bulletin / @hborrud

Published Jul 22, 2014 at 12:01AM

The city of Bend is giving developer Getz Properties LLC a two-month extension on a deadline to purchase city-owned property downtown at the northeast corner of Wall Street and Olney Avenue.

Where city officials once envisioned a larger City Hall, Getz Properties plans to build a mixed-use development with retail, housing and office space.

Officials agreed to sell the 3-acre parcel to Getz Properties for $1.9 million. The city purchased the land for $4.78 million in 2005 from construction company CEO Todd Taylor and developer Jeff Pickhardt, but it quickly became clear that building a new City Hall would be both expensive and unnecessary, as the city laid off employees during the recession.

Mayor Jim Clinton, the only remaining city councilor who was involved in the decision to buy the property in 2005, has since said it was a mistake. The property, once home to The Bulletin, languished on the market for years before the city reached the agreement with Getz Properties this year.

Under a sale agreement signed in February, Getz Properties was supposed to close on the property by Oct. 11. The agreement also called for the company to submit a development plan to the city by July 28 and obtain approval for the plan by Sept. 11, but city Special Projects Director Brad Emerson said Monday the extension was necessary due to issues that were out of the developer’s control. The 60-day extension also applies to the planning deadlines.

There were still easements on the property that allowed access for old utility lines, even though the lines had been removed years ago when the Oregon Department of Transportation built the Bend Parkway section of U.S. Highway 97.

“We weren’t even aware of them,” Emerson said. The city learned of the easements through a title report commissioned as a result of the sale agreement, so the easements had to be cleared up.

City Councilor Mark Capell said Monday that officials did not request additional money from the developer in exchange for the extension, because the additional time necessary to remove the easements was not the developer’s fault.

“My understanding is it’s going very well,” Capell said of the planned development. “Everything I’ve seen on the design and ideas for what they’re going to do with the property — it will make a really nice entrance to downtown.”

Getz Properties, headed by Mel Getz, developed The Forum shopping center at the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and 27th Street. The complex is anchored by Costco, Safeway, Whole Foods and other major chain stores. Getz could not be reached for comment Monday.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, hborrud@bendbulletin.com