PENDLETON, Oregon – The Pendleton Round-Up is growing. The old Albertson’s building will be demolished, and a new building will rise on the lot south of the Round-Up Grounds on the northeast corner, adjacent to Southwest 12th Street. President Dave O’Neil tells KUMA News that they need more room for office and retail space.
We’ll be building a new structure that’s designed for our business use,” he said. “To make room for that though one of the things that has to happen is that the old building has to come down to make way for the expansion. The message we’re trying to really communicate is that we’re expanding and growing our campus to the south and as a result some changes have to occur.”
O’Neil says the expansion of the south campus will allow even more events to occur. It will also give them more room for storage for online sales and more floor space and retail counter space. It’s estimated the new building will be between 10,000 to 15,000 square feet. In addition, the parking area after Albertson’s is demolished and the new building is complete will create many more spaces than were currently available for the grocery store when it was open.
Demolition begins this summer. This year’s rodeo, the lot will be dedicated to additional parking. During rodeo week O’Neil says the parking lot will be used for rodeo patrons. For other events, the parking facility will be part of the contract entered into with the event sponsors.
When the new building opens in 2019, it will also give the crowded Round-Up & Happy Canyon Hall of Fame more room as it will utilize the entire structure of its current home. The expansion will also create more parking space for Round-Up and other events.
Round-Up Publicity Director Randy Thomas says the move is possible due to increased rodeo revenues and the emergence of new partnership events like the Pendleton Whisky Music Fest.
“It’s just the brand expansion and the popularity of the Bucking Horse brand which has been made famous, of course, by Pendleton Whisky,” he said. “But we have many, many other people that are just wanting to tie their company’s’ branding to the Round-Up.”
O’Neil said that during the rest of the year, the Round-Up Association hopes the community will avail itself of the open lot for other events.
The Round-Up Association decided on tearing down the old building because it would be costly to renovate and time-consuming to renovate, and they would end up with a larger building than they need. The story, he said, is not that the old building is being torn down, but that a new one is going up.
“It brings business to town, people to hotels and restaurants,” he said. “It’s good for everybody.”