By Rachael Rees

The Bulletin

Homeowners in Black Butte Ranch have approved a nearly $11.5 million redevelopment project to improve the lodge area of the resort, community officials announced Tuesday.

“I’m really proud of my neighbors, that they’ve stepped up to fund this project, and that we are sustaining the unique properties of Black Butte into the future,” said Mark Pilkenton, a homeowner and chairman of the Black Butte Ranch board of directors.

About 1,250 homeowners were eligible to vote, said Scott Huntsman, president and CEO of Black Butte Ranch, and had to return their ballots to resort officials by 5 p.m. Monday.

Redevelopment discussions began about three years ago, Huntsman said, and ranch officials made a case for the project to homeowners.

“While there is no doubt that this project is a significant investment for both owners and for the ranch, the board believes that the benefits are worth the investment, and the value of proposition of the lodge area redevelopment is very strong,” Huntsman said in an electronic presentation document created prior to the vote.

The improvements will include a new lodge pool, 80 percent larger than the existing pool, and outdoor hot tub, a new bistro and retail area with outdoor dining and poolside service, locker rooms, fitness facility, recreation center and playground.

Parking and landscaping will also be improved, according to the proposal presented to homeowners.

Based on the proposal and initial estimates, homeowners will pay a maximum assessment of $5,000 per lot, and Black Butte plans to borrow up to $5.5 million.

“The ranch will remain on solid financial footing, and we are not overreaching,” Huntsman said in his presentation to homeowners.

Located 8 miles west of Sisters, Black Butte Ranch covers more than 1,800 acres and is considered a resort community by Deschutes County, according to the county’s comprehensive plan.

Development by Brooks Resources began in 1970 and today Black Butte Ranch operates community sewer and water systems and has its own fire and police departments.

“The lodge area, the pool and the bistro have been there for 40-plus years, and things are naturally going to show their age,” Huntsman said. “As far back as 1998, homeowners have identified this as an area of the ranch that is going to need some reinvestment.”

A second phase of the project, which would involve remodeling the lodge itself, was discussed during the early planning phases but won’t be addressed until a later date, Huntsman said.

“People were pretty unified in what they wanted to see out of phase one, but there was a lot of strong opinions on what should or should not happen with the lodge,” he said. “Breaking the project into two phases allows us the time to assess how owners utilize the new facilities and plan the best way forward for the lodge.”

Construction is scheduled to start on phase one in September, with completion targeted for June 2015.

As a homeowner, Pilkenton said he’s not concerned about construction on the ranch or how long it takes, just that it is done right.

“Will it be inconvenient? Absolutely,” Pilkenton said. “There are plenty of other food and beverage outlets and other pools, so I am confident we can minimize the disruption to homeowners and their guests.”

And while it’s not easy for homeowners to think about dipping into their bank accounts, he said, the Black Butte community recognized the need.

The renovations will benefit not only homeowners but visitors, too, said Alana Hughson, president and CEO of Central Oregon Visitors Association.

“The improvements on tap for the pool and lodge area of Black Butte Ranch are the perfect complement to the tremendously successful (2012) redesign of the Glaze Meadow golf course,” she wrote in an email, referring to the $3.5 million project that started in 2010. “Black Butte Ranch has been a premier Central Oregon destination resort for decades, and it is exciting to see the Ranch taking steps to remain in the forefront of what visitors are seeking.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7818,

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. In the original version, the description of Black Butte Ranch having a commercial core and business park was incorrect.

The Bulletin regrets the error.