A Bend architect is proposing a 192-unit apartment complex off SW Canal Boulevard in Redmond.

The Obsidian Heights Apartments would sit on more than 10 acres, what is now a large vacant lot south of Obsidian Middle School, with 144 two-bedroom units, 24 one-bedroom units and 24 three-bedroom units.

Although the apartments could boost the limited supply of rental housing in Redmond, some neighbors aren’t happy.

The project is proposed by Bend architect David Waldron, whose designs include the nearby middle school and the Redmond Airport terminal in the early 1980s and Pacific Partners Residential Inc. of Eagle, Idaho. The Idaho company will own and run the complex, which is estimated to cost around $26 million, Waldron said.

“It’s obvious, the demand for apartments in all of Central Oregon is pretty strong,” said Waldron, who has worked with Pacific Partners for more than 20 years. “(This property) would serve not only the Redmond area, but, being on the south end of Redmond, we would cater to some overflow caused by the Bend demand.”

Neighbor concerns

While rental costs have yet to be determined, Waldron said they will be market rate, with a nice design and landscaping.

According to plans, the complex will feature a pool and clubhouse with workout room and fireplace, dog park, bocce courts, playgrounds and horseshoe pit.

Some neighbors say the apartments are not meeting the needs of affordable housing, particularly for professions like teaching.

“This is not going to be affordable housing,” said neighbor Richard King. “This is going to be borderline luxury.”

Waldron said Obsidian Heights will help lower demand for housing in Redmond, which could lower overall costs for city residents.

“It certainly meets and takes care of some of the demand by adding more good housing to the community, which is needed,” he said.

Cathy Young, who lives just north of the proposed apartments, acknowledged Redmond needs more housing. She said it should go toward the outskirts of town, rather than in a largely developed area.

“This is going to devalue all our homes and also raise our taxes,” she said. “They’ll give the contractor perks; you don’t have to pay for this; you do n’t have to pay for that. You know who’s paying for that? The taxpayers.”

Waldron said that other than a request to allow for fewer parking spaces on the property, Obsidian Heights is getting no assistance from the city. He said developers are paying $300,000 in off-site development through park and street improvement fees.

The location off Canal is better than the outskirts of Redmond for the apartment residents, Waldron said.

“It’s obvious that people who live here would want to have access to convenient amenities — shopping, schools, things like that,” he said.

Young worries about the impact on the close-knit neighborhood, where many residents are retired or close to it.

“It’s a nice little place to live, we all know each other and keep an eye on each other,” she said. “This is going to take a lot of that ambiance. It’s just not the right place for it.”

The neighborhood has been disrupted since June by construction on the city’s South Canal Boulevard Project a block over, Young, a 20-year resident of the neighborhood, said.

The intersection of Canal with SW Obsidian Avenue has been closed, and the side streets have been altered.

Parking and street plans

Plans submitted to the city say Obsidian Heights will have 386 parking spaces, while the city requires 423 spaces.

Redmond Senior Planner Sean Cook said developers are requesting a parking variance to allow for the smaller number, which would mean some guests of apartment residents would park on the street.

The city is in the middle of reviewing the request and has yet to take a position for or against it, Cook said.

Excess cars parked along the street could make it difficult for drivers to see approaching cars, Young said.

The number of parking spaces Obsidian Heights is proposing is “absolutely” enough to handle all residents, Waldron said.

“Redmond has really unusual parking requirements in the code, which is far beyond anything I’ve encountered in other areas, including Bend,” he said.

While some guests at the apartments and other homes might have to park on the streets, Waldron said that can be a positive.

“Street parking is actually helpful because it slows down traffic,” he said.

The apartments will be accessible by tw o entrances, off SW 15th Street and from a new connection of SW Pumice Avenue that developers will build between SW 15th Street and Canal, by Safeway, Waldron said.

Developers plan to build a “right in, right out” intersection from the new stretch of Pumice onto Canal.

Cook said the city is considering building a mini-roundabout at Pumice and Canal, adding the proportion of how much the city pays versus the applicant has yet to be decided.

“They are being worked on based on impacts,” he said.

Developers will also make improvements to 15th Street near Obsidian Heights, Waldron said.

“Right now, it’s only half a street,” Waldron said. “We’re going to complete the street with full pavement, curbs and sidewalks.”

Moving forward

Waldron hopes the Obsidian Heights site plan will be approved by the city within 30 days, with construction starting in the spring.

He said the project should take a 1 ½ to two years to complete, with the entire project opening at the same time, rather than in phases.

Pacific Partners does a good job managing its properties, Waldron said.

“It’s going to be managed at a high level, so there won’t be any negative debris or anything like that,” he said. “They are very qualified and experienced. They want to be good neighbors.”

Waldron and his partners are looking at additional apartment projects in Central Oregon, but haven’t set anything specific yet.

“We like Redmond a lot,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@ redmondspokesman.com

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