The owner of the Platypus Pub property on NE Third Street is speeding up a plan to tear down the former church and replace it with a drive-thru restaurant.

Third Street Marketplace LLC co-owner Jake Ertle outlined his plans Wednesday morning for more than two dozen people who attended a neighborhood meeting, required by the city of Bend because the developer is seeking a conditional-use permit for the drive-thru.

Although the site plan application mentions “coffee” as the building’s use, Ertle said he doesn’t have a lease with Starbucks or any other tenant. “Sometime in the next six months, we’d hope to have a deal,” he said. “We’re discussing the opportunity with multiple tenants.”

The project could move fast.

“We will try to finish the application and break ground as soon as possible,” Ertle told The Bulletin on Wednesday afternoon. He said he would like to break ground this fall.

That’s a change from Ertle’s stance in April, when he said that he and his father, Rusty Ertle, could take up to two years to act if the city approved their plans. The Ertles’ main tenant, the Platypus, has an active lease, but Ertle said the pub seems ready to move.

“The Platypus guys have found a location they want to move to, and they’ve asked us to speed up the process as much as we can,” Jake Ertle said Wednesday.

Platypus co-owner Glen Samuel said he has looked at a new location for the pub, but he hasn’t signed a lease. “We need to find out what’s happening here first,” he said.

About 40 people attended the neighborhood meeting, and the prevailing sentiment was disappointment, said Bart Bowen, owner of Bowen Sports Performance, which is on NE Lafayette Avenue, near the Platypus.

“This could be a catalyst for the neighborhood to create change,” Bowen said. “I don’t think the developer is looking at that. I think they’re looking at the dollar signs.”

The former church that houses Platypus isn’t protected by a historic district or designation. Nevertheless, it’s an iconic building on Third Street, Bowen said.

“If you did something with it, it would mean a lot,” Bowen said. “We don’t have many opportunities. This is one of those moments, you could make a positive change in a neighborhood that’s ripe to take off.”

Ertle said he plans to pursue the site plan he submitted in March. The plan calls for tearing down the Platypus building, plus two other retail buildings to the north. The Ertles would build a 2,000 square-foot coffee shop with a drive-thru at the corner of Third and Lafayette.

Then under separate permits, they would create a 25-stall public parking lot and a second one-story retail building on parcels to the north.

The restaurant building and parking lot are permitted outright under the city’s zoning code, but the drive-thru will require a conditional-use permit.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

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