By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

Brian Fratzke remembered the day he inspected the former Fuqua Homes factory on Murray Road just before his firm, Fratzke Commercial Real Estate, listed the property for sale in 2012.

In the sales office, half-eaten sandwiches and family photos still sat on desks, he said Tuesday. On the shop floor, a motionless saw blade bit into a piece of wood, waiting for the worker to return and finish the job.

Those still-life installations marked the day in 2011 when workers were summoned, laid off and escorted from the site off Boyd Acres Road south of Empire Avenue, Fratzke said.

“When they foreclosed on the property, they literally walked people off in the middle of lunch,” Fratzke said.

Tuesday, he and fellow broker Tom Tapia invited other brokers to tour the old factory, now renovated into 15 individual suites and dubbed the Murray Road Industrial Center. Still undergoing work by SunWest Builders — according to a plan by Pinnacle Architecture and engineered by Hickman, Williams & Associates Inc. — units in the building should be available for lease in May, Fratzke said.

In addition, three lots totaling 7.1 acres adjacent to the north end of the industrial center are for sale; the asking price is a total $3.2 million.

Husband and wife Bradley and Melissa Kent bought the former manufactured homes plant in December 2013 for $2.7 million. Rather than raze the 115,000-square-foot structure, they decided to reconfigure it into individual spaces suitable for light industrial users.

Those spaces, serviced by an enclosed, 18-foot-wide forklift passageway through the building center, can be combined to meet demand for larger space.

Each suite has loading dock access via the interior passageway that was built as part of the renovation. The suites range in size from 9,028 square feet to 22,664 square feet, with lease rates between 45 cents and 65 cents per square foot, depending on its location inside the building.

“All the things that brokers love, we have it all,” Fratzke said. “And it’s a neat opportunity to get some inventory back on the market.”

David Friend, president of family-owned Majesty’s Animal Nutrition Inc., joined the lunch-time tour, looking for a new home of about 5,000 square feet for the Redmond-based maker of supplements for horses and dogs.

He said his company’s landlord is looking to sell the building, and Majesty’s isn’t prepared to buy it. Plus, the four family members commute to work from Bend and could partially offset the difference in lease rates in Bend and Redmond with the savings they realize in gasoline. Finding a new, larger home for the business in Redmond is difficult as businesses there continue to gobble up what remains of available commercial space, Friend said.

“You can rent for 30 percent cheaper in Redmond,” he said, “if you can find it.”

Industrial space is getting scarce in Bend as well. Compass Commercial Real Estate Services, in its most recent quarterly survey, reported a 6.7 percent vacancy rate for industrial property in Bend at the end of 2014. In the fourth quarter 2013, the vacancy rate stood at 12.25 percent, according to the survey.

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

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