At least two small businesses plan to leave the block of NE Third Street that Les Schwab Tire Centers wants to buy.
The owners of Truck Toyz and Hardy’s Hot Wings and Hamburgers said they’ve given notice to their landlord in anticipation of the sale of the property, which is between Clay and Burnside avenues. Bend-based Les Schwab wants the property in order to relocate its longstanding service center on Franklin Avenue near downtown.
“There’s been a lot of anxiety and a lot of uncertainty,” said Hardy’s owner Eilhard Lussier, who goes by the nickname Hardy. Although it could be many more months until the property is sold, he said he recently decided to give notice in order to take control of the situation. He has to be out by Aug. 1.
Truck Toyz owner Michael Johnson said he found a new lease after 18 months of searching. The business will relocate to 710 NE First St. by June 15, he said. Truck Toyz, which has been at 208 NE Third Street since 1999, sells and installs accessories for off-roading, and it takes months to relocate the shop equipment, he said.
Lussier said he knew that the real estate, owned by JRD Properties, was being marketed for sale 18 months ago. JRD Properties owns eight different parcels between Clay and Burnside. Other tenants include Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Juniper Chiropractic. Representatives of those businesses were not available Monday.
Les Schwab’s relocation plans generated a lot of interest among Hardy’s customers, Lussier said. He said his anxiety increased because he couldn’t get an estimate of how much more time he would have, and he didn’t know what to tell customers and employees. “Just so I could get some sleep at night, I had to take control of my own situation.”
Lussier said he has not yet found a new location. He opened at 238 NE Third St. in 2005.
Les Schwab can’t move to the Third Street property unless the city amends its development code. That will require approval by the Planning Commission and City Council.
The application that Les Schwab submitted in April is still incomplete, Senior Planner Karen Swenson said. The earliest it could come before the Planning Commission for a public hearing is mid-July because the city has to give 35 days’ notice to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development for any changes to the development code.
The city has been planning to make Third Street more pedestrian-friendly for years, Lussier said, and he kept that in mind when he invested $7,000 in a new sign in 2015. He opposes changing the vision of Bend Central District as a mixed-use neighborhood to allow Les Schwab’s service center. “Why should they be able to benefit at the cost of everybody else?”
— Reporter: 541-617-7860, firstname.lastname@example.org