Developer to build condos in Old Mill

Price for 1-bedroom to start at $500,000

By Joseph Ditzler / The Bulletin / @josefditzler

A development firm plans on building nine luxury condominiums on a half-acre lot in Bend overlooking the shops in the Old Mill District, with views of the Deschutes River and the Cascades.

Construction at the site, 291 SW Bluff Drive, could begin in the next month, said David Waldron, a partner with James T. Paul of Bigwater Ventures II LLC. Paul said Bigwater sold the property in the past month to another firm that was created to develop it, 291 Bluff Investments LLC.

The project, called The Atrium at the Old Mill, calls for six 2-bedroom and three 1-bedroom condos, and could be complete within nine months, Waldron said Wednesday. The units range from 1,000 square feet to 1,800 square feet, he said.

“We’re going to release four right now, three on the first level and a one-bedroom on the second level,” he said. “The one-bedroom will start at $500,000.”

Condominiums are not as popular with homebuyers as single-family homes, and they don’t appreciate as quickly, but for certain people they make sense as a home purchase, real estate brokers said.

“A lot of the reason for that is that people are looking to simplify their lives,” said broker Michelle Mills, of Re/Max Key Properties in Bend.

Downsizing baby boomers and young entrepreneurs looking for low-maintenance homes, a Bend lifestyle, or both, are interested in condos. Some buyers are looking for a primary home in Bend while maintaining a second home in a place like Costa Rica or Ecuador, she said.

Waldron said a young businesswoman from Florida has already reserved one of the Atrium units.

“We haven’t really put it out to the public, but we’re getting a lot of unsolicited interest,” he said.

Still, condominiums represent a fraction of the Bend real estate market, said Lynnea Miller, principal broker at Bend Premier Real Estate. She said the Multiple Listing Service shows 137 condominiums, of which 37 are active, 13 are pending and 87 have sold over the past year. Many are listings at Seventh Mountain Resort and Mount Bachelor Village. Some of those are fractional ownership vacation homes, and many are less than 1,000 square feet.

In The Plaza, a condominium building adjacent to the Atrium site, a 1,938-square-foot, 3-bedroom condo is listed for sale at $789,900.

“It definitely does fit a certain demographic,” Miller said.

Waldron said he designed the Atrium units with enclosed garages, climate control, energy efficiencies and sound insulation.

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