Opportunities & Challenges

Deschutes Public Library (DPL) envisioned a 115,000 square-foot regional Central Library in Bend, OR that would serve as an informational center, learning hub and gathering space serving the entire Deschutes County region. DPL performed an exhaustive search of available properties throughout the north end of Bend (a central location in the county) looking for an appropriate location to fulfill this vision. In 2020, DPL eventually selected a highly visible property located at Hwy 20 and Robal Road. The 12.75-acre property had come into Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary in 2016 but had not yet been annexed into the city.

Once under contract, DPL had 180 days to address the many due diligence issues prior to closing on the Property, ranging from existing zoning and City of Bend Comprehensive Plan policies applicable to the Property, to off-site infrastructure implications such as street, water and sewer improvements. DPL engaged Brooks Resources to manage the due diligence effort and to provide recommendations so that DPL staff and its board of directors could make a decision whether or not to move forward with the purchase.

The Approach

As DPL’s trusted advisor in this process, our goal was very clear: to provide coordination and support to address relevant due diligence items with the site and issue a recommendation to the DPL staff and board by the conclusion of the due diligence period.

To achieve this goal, Brooks Resources worked diligently with DPL staff, City of Bend staff, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) staff, neighboring property owners, and a team of expert consultants.

From the onset, we knew this property had some significant challenges that would need to be addressed before DPL could confidently start planning for their Central Library. Most notably, there were multiple zoning designations on the property, not enough acreage to initiate a master plan application, and potential sewer capacity issues.

Throughout the process, we initiated research and conversations with relevant parties to assess alternatives and develop strategies for several due diligence items including preliminary title review, land use review, site review and an infrastructure assessment. In addition, we developed an initial development cost estimate to aid in the board’s decision on financial feasibility.

The Results

We concluded that the property could be delivered to DPL with acceptable title, that there was a reasonable path forward to gain master plan approval and annexation of the site into the city limits, that there were no observed environmental issues associated with the site, that access to water and sewer infrastructure appeared to be reasonable and available with existing offsite infrastructure, that the alignment of future on-site streets could accommodate the preliminary site plan, and that the total acquisition and development costs were below the current market value of comparable development-ready properties.

In June 2020, we presented our findings to the DPL board and they unanimously voted to move forward with the purchase. In November 2020, DPL successfully passed a voter bond measure that would in part, fund the development and construction of the new Central Library. Due to political opposition, DPL changed locations of the Central Library, but this property remains a wise investment hold for the District as the area continues to grow.