You know the Old Mill Marketplace—the building/shopping complex on the western edge of the Old Mill District adjacent to Arizona Avenue, home to the Atlas Cider tasting room, the Longboard Store, WebCyclery, and others. (Apparently it is home to 32 businesses actually, many more than I realized, and is branded an “up and coming destination”.) Well, it is the “Old Mill Marketplace” no longer, as they have been renamed to the Box Factory, as the complex was originally known back during Bend’s mill era.
The rebranding coincides with the centennial of Bend’s two largest and best-known mills, the Shevlin-Hixon and Brooks-Scanlon, both established in 1916; and the industrial complex now known as the Box Factory was Brooks-Scanlon’s original box factory.
Here’s from the press release:
The Box Factory is a story of struggle, near-demise and in the end, historic preservation. In 2013, after years of challenges meeting compliance and safety standards, previous owners struggled to keep the 90,000 square-foot main building open and demolishment was eminent. In July 2013, Killian Pacific, a leader of innovative and thoughtful project developments in the Pacific Northwest, acquired the building and began taking steps toward a new vision for the property. The goal was to restore an architecture and history that reflects the very heart of the Mill Quarter.
Central to the significant budget spent in restoration work since Killian Pacific acquired the property has been resolving years of deferred maintenance and ensuring that the building is code compliant and safe to inhabit. Just as important to Killian Pacific has been keeping alive the historic charm and architectural features signature to early 20th century mill buildings. The original cupola, the focal point of the building for 100 years, has been meticulously maintained and continues to stand as the iconic mark of a mill building. The color of the buildings on the property, which were all repainted last summer, was carefully chosen to closely match the other mill buildings in the quarter. All of the original woodwork, arches and columns have also been preserved and the paint has been sandblasted to bring back the natural wood used in the original factory.
The Box Factory and its vintage industrial character now houses a forward-thinking collection of 32 locally owned businesses. From beer, cider and great eats, to photography, art and interior design, to yoga and innovative athletic performance and training, the Box Factory businesses were born in Bend and much like the factory workers who assembled boxes here 100 years ago, they are built on the sweat of hard work and a passion to make Bend an even better place to live and visit. Atlas Cider Company’s tasting room and Immersion Brewing (a brew-it-yourself pub and brewery opening in May) are both a nod to Bend’s well-known craft beer brewers and growing cider scene. The Brown Owl, once a wildly popular food cart in The Lot, has since outgrown its mobile space and moved its permanent home to the Box Factory. The family-friendly rustic pub with a full menu, bar and sundeck is expected to open mid-April.
It’s an interesting bit of history, and I’ve been watching that whole space renovate and fill out over the last couple of years (particularly with Atlas and now Immersion Brewing). One thing to keep in mind if you’re visiting, however, is the amount of construction going on in the immediate vicinity—from the new Market of Choice to the north, to the sewer line work on Arizona and Colorado Avenues, to the new hotel/retail space that will be going up right across the street to the south; so driving and parking might be a little crazy.
And then this:
Save the Date: The Box Factory presents Atlas Cider Company’s 3-Year Anniversary Celebration and Block Party June 3-4, 2016. Join the Box Factory in celebrating its Centennial and Atlas Cider’s anniversary with a carnival-style, family-friendly block party. There will be a giant ferris wheel, bouncy houses, food, drinks, as well as open houses of all of the Box Factory businesses. The event is free and open to the public.
…Giant Ferris wheel?