Where did the land come from?
The Juniper Ridge property was given to the City of Bend by Deschutes County in 1990 at no cost. The County required that the City create a master plan for the property, that the master plan be adopted by City Council in a public process, and that at least 10% of the land be reserved for parks and open space. In addition, the land must be used for a "public purpose", such as job creation. The City has fulfilled all of these requirements.
What is the "community vision" for Juniper Ridge?
The entire project totals 1,500 acres which include the employment, educational and research opportunities mentioned above. Approximately 500 acres of the property are currently within the UGB. Other facilities planned for Juniper Ridge in the future include a "Town Center" component with a major public space and a Performing Arts Center, and a mixture of local shops and residential neighborhoods. The project's design has a very strong pedestrian orientation. Juniper Ridge will offer bikeways, pedestrian paths, running trails and a network of parks, gathering places, and open space that will knit together the employment, commercial and residential neighborhoods of the plan. In short, everything the City has learned in the past fifteen years about attractive, sustainable, and successful development will be applied to Juniper Ridge.
Industry sectors such as aerospace, medical devices, computer electronics, software, telecommunications, educational services, financial services, and alternative energy resources will be specifically targeted to expand into Juniper Ridge.
What are the near-term objectives at Juniper Ridge?
While the overall vision for Juniper Ridge embodied in the Cooper-Robertson Conceptual Master Plan that was approved by City Council in 2007 is still in place, the City is currently focusing on the immediate goal of creating shovel-ready land for employers. The first phase of development covers approximately 250 acres, all of which is inside the current City limits.
Who is in charge of Juniper Ridge?
Key changes in the project's leadership have been made by the City to ensure the project's success, including the formation of the Juniper Ridge Management Advisory Board, and the recent hiring of a Project Executive. The project is being led by professionals with decades of leadership experience in the design and construction of successful large industrial and mixed-use projects. The Advisory Board and the Project Executive report to the City Manager and the City Council. All of the major planning processes will be reviewed and approved publically.
How is the City paying for the project, and how does the City see any return on its investment?
The City of Bend is the lead developer of Juniper Ridge. However, state law does not allow the City's General Fund to be used for development costs, so, like many developers, we're utilizing a combination of tax increment financing and traditional bank financing to pay for the roads and utilities that are needed to serve businesses at Juniper Ridge in the future.
Here are the numbers: The City has issued $3.7 million in urban renewal bonds, and has obtained a $6 million line of bank credit at very attractive terms. The bonds financed a portion of the Cooley Road and 18th Street extension and roundabout, which will serve the entire Juniper Ridge area. The line of credit is being utilized to finance other infrastructure and development costs such as streets and utilities, a sewer pump station which serves the initial 70 acres, and related design and engineering costs.
The City will use a combination of tax revenues, impact fees, and proceeds from land sales to pay back that debt. The City has sold 12 acres to Les Schwab, and has entered into agreements to sell 7.99 acres to Suterra Corporation and 13.97 acres to Pacific Power. All these parcels were sold at market prices for industrial land. Keep in mind that, as stated above, Juniper Ridge costs are kept separate from all other city finances – that's the law. The project has nothing to do with how the City funds police, fire or other city programs.
The City will see a return on its investment through profitable sales of property to end users or other developers. There is a very limited supply of industrial land in Bend, and Juniper Ridge will be able to attract larger users who are looking for more than just a couple of acres for a small building, or who need better and more direct access to the highway system. Completion and sale of the initial phase of the project (roughly 40 acres) will return all of the City's investment to date.
In this economy, are employers still interested in building at Juniper Ridge?
Several companies have approached the City and expressed serious interest in locating at Juniper Ridge, including large high-tech manufacturing facilities. Despite the current economy, many companies are growing and have the necessary financing in place. It can take several years to plan and construct a new facility. And, by doing all the necessary planning and engineering work now, the City – and Juniper Ridge – will be ready when the economy improves – which it will.
Is the City going to build the entire project all at once?
No – like virtually all large projects, Juniper Ridge will be developed in phases, as demand for property grows. The project now has enough streets and utilities in place to support several years of employment-based development. As companies come and get settled, additional commercial and residential development will follow.
Is the City going to be the developer for the entire 1,500 acre project?
No – the City's involvement in the project will only be for the employment-related property. The City intends to enter into agreements with other developers for the Town Center, educational, and all residential elements of the project.
Why does the City need an agreement with ODOT to proceed with development?
The Juniper Ridge property is currently zoned Urban Area Reserve, and must be rezoned to Light Industrial before land can be sold for development. A state law known as the Transportation Planning Rule, or TPR for short, gives ODOT the authority to approve or disapprove of any application for a rezoning of property if the proposed project creates an adverse impact on ODOT's roadway system. Usually, these impacts must be defined, mitigation measures identified, and funding sources for those mitigations guaranteed before ODOT will allow the requested rezoning to be approved. Growth at Juniper Ridge will have a significant impact on the Cooley/97 intersection – enough to require that the intersection be completely redesigned and reconstructed – a $40 million project. Because the City cannot fund this large a project in advance, we have to come to an agreement with ODOT about when the City can generate enough money to design and construct the project before they will allow the rezoning to move ahead.
Which companies are currently located at Juniper Ridge?
As mentioned above, Les Schwab, Suterra Corporation and Pacific Power have purchased land at Juniper Ridge. Les Schwab, a company with $1 billion in annual revenue and one of the largest employers in Central Oregon, has relocated its corporate headquarters to Juniper Ridge. Suterra Corporation, a Bend biotechnology company, is currently building its new headquarters at Juniper Ridge, and Pacific Power is constructing an electrical substation that will eventually serve the entire 1,500 acre project. In another couple of years, Pacific Power will construct a service center at Juniper Ridge with offices and room for vehicles and equipment to serve the City and the surrounding region.
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