Plans taking shape for new BBR Lodge
Last updated 8/3/2021 at Noon
The Lodge at Black Butte Ranch (BBR) has been the cornerstone and heart of the Ranch for the past 50 years. Looking out of the tall, west-facing windows, the view is an ever-unfolding panorama across wraparound lawns to Phalarope Lake, then on to pastures and meadows bustling with activity. Framing it all in Central Oregon perfection is the Cascade Range, majestic, protective, and always changing.
The vista will remain, but after careful consideration and input from BBR homeowners and management, The Lodge, loved and cherished for so many years, is coming down.
The decision about whether to remodel The Lodge or start over was not an easy one. General Manager Jay Head worked with a task force, then a conceptual design phase was used to engage homeowners in town hall meetings and surveys to weigh the two options. Since its inception, The Lodge has been remodeled six times. Tackling it again was deemed impractical and too expensive.
“At the end of that process, we presented a remodel and teardown option with a cost/benefit analysis between the two. That’s when the board decided it was throwing good money after bad to try and remodel The Lodge. Now we have a dedicated path toward the rebuild scenario and have completed the design development phase,” said Head.
“We’ve chosen a design that meets the needs and desires of the homeowners today and into the future. We’re designing a building that’s more easily accessible. The current building is multiple levels with tons of stairs and it’s choppy in its design. There’s no elevator. We wanted to create an easy-to-navigate footprint that provides elevator access between levels for homeowners. We will apply a strategy that considers the seasonal operations of the building,” said Head.
The design focuses on a place to gather. Creating a multiuse space, that accommodates many functions happening simultaneously without interfering with one another, was important to planners. Small groups can meet for a number of interests, from quilting to book clubs and as a retreat space. Architects created a meeting space on the south side of the building that is divisible, with breakaway walls that can accommodate smaller, more intimate groups or a retreat presentation model.
“There will be designated meeting spaces and a private, separate dining room that can be reserved by homeowners and their guests on the upper second level with an absolutely gorgeous panoramic view,” explained Head.
“A lot of thought was given to accomplish a number of functions at the same time. That includes weddings, anniversary, birthday, and graduation celebrations. Parking is part of the plan, too, and is still being evaluated. We’re currently in the preliminary site planning with the county. We’re just now beginning to submit our semifinal plans, then we’ll know what the county will require. We will probably add about 50 new parking spots. That will include additional bike parking. We want to encourage people to keep riding their bikes or walk or carpool.”
The future of The Lodge is important to a broader community than just the residents and guests of BBR.
“I want the community of Sisters to remain proud of their partnership with Black Butte Ranch. We’re two communities that are really one in so many ways. We’ll continue to invest, preserve, and enhance the Ranch for current and future generations. We want the community of Sisters to be proud of that and come out and share in that,” said Head. “Our core objective is to provide an authentic Central Oregon dining experience and ensure The Lodge is one with nature. That’s why there’s so many floor-to-ceiling windows to bring the outside in. The new building serves our intent to support outdoor dining for those who want to be out in nature.”
Head welcomes guests from the community of Sisters who come out to rent bikes, golf, ride horses, and dine.
“We want them to enjoy this next generation of The Lodge,” he said. “We know we have the perfect makeup for that one-of a-kind experience and we’re simply stewards of that beauty. We’re looking forward to that next 50 years. We want the new lodge to blend in with nature and with the site. A lot of thought was given to the views. The floor-to-ceiling glazing will be really impressive. With new standards from COVID, we’re also integrating better circulating air and the ability to do a full flush each day to keep the inside air clean for guests.”
Permitting and mobilization will take place between now and September. Construction will begin in September with a projected completion date of July 2022. While The Lodge is under construction, Robert’s Pub located at the Big Meadow course will offer dining during the winter months, and the Lakeside Bistro located near The Lodge will remain open for lunch.
Black Butte Ranch is located seven miles west of Sisters on Highway 20. For more information visit http://www.blackbutteranch.com.