A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

At Santiam and Bain, construction under way

Written September 9th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The old sign was still there on Sept. 3, reminding people of he restaurant that closed in 2017.

Four years after the last restaurant there closed, a new one is under construction at the corner of Bain Street and Santiam Highway S.E.

Demolition of part of the building had started and then stopped in 2018, and in the years since, the unfinished site prompted occasional questions on social media about what was happening there.

Early in 2020 the Albany city planning division approved a plan for expanding the building and improving the site. The new restaurant would be called Rancho La Hacienda Real.

Now, the city’s online listing of building permits shows that a permit for Rancho La Hacienda was approved last month, on Aug. 27.

The project calls for remodeling and expanding the existing building. Also, there will be new parking and landscaping, and a new sidewalk on the Bain Street frontage. The permit mentions removing five trees.

The property is owned by Lee Ching Ping and Lai Kuen, who also own Ping’s Garden Restaurant in Albany. The building permit lists Northstar Quality Construction, of Salem, as the contractor on the job. (hh)

A closer look at the construction site last Friday.


15 responses to “At Santiam and Bain, construction under way”

  1. Lindell Johnson says:

    Another Mexican restaurant? WOW

  2. Belle says:

    Do we really need another Mexican restaurant? I love them myself but there are lots already! The old one there was closed alright. Nice way to put it.

  3. centrist says:

    Hear that response a lot
    Entrepeneurs are risking their own money. Unassisted capitalism in play

    • Jake Jaques JJ Johnny Hartman says:

      Given the generous laws and tax policies favoring the investor class, one can hardly call this start-up “unassisted capitalism.”

      • HowlingCicada says:

        JJ, there really is an “investor class” that deserves to be pilloried if it can’t be fairly taxed. A few examples:

        1 – Bitcoin billionaires paying low capital-gains tax instead of a significant windfall-profit tax.

        2 – Wealthy heirs who bamboozled their way out of inheritance tax with big crocodile tears about “tearing apart family farms.” Note to the inevitable objectors: Such enterprises could have their taxes mostly deferred until land or similar assets are sold.

        3 – Lottery winners who often gain very little in long-term happiness from their unearned wealth. Lotteries are a socially corrosive lose-lose.

        The philosophy of the “investor class” is “privatize the profit and socialize the losses.”

        Can you show us how anything like this applies to someone who starts a restaurant or two? Especially being a type of business which often creates jobs for people with language, etc, barriers to more comfortable employment.

        • Jake (JJ) Johnny Johan Hartman says:

          Is there a question hidden somewhere in the layers of distraction/obfuscation?

        • HowlingCicada says:

          Very simply, JJ, how do you justify calling these entrepreneurs members of the “investor class” by any reasonable definition of “investor class?”

          That’s an honest question. You might even have an answer that convinces me.

  4. Steve says:

    Hopefully Lee Ping will give us some of the Peruvian dishes he knows.

  5. Tracy says:

    What 5 trees? Seems like its a pretty open site with no trees close to the building .. would love to see the plan layout..
    Seems like Albany is turning into the fast food or restaurant city of Oregon..

  6. Greg S says:

    I had a course in small business in college taught by a professor who sidelined in commercial real estate sales. One of his favorite sayings was, “There’s a restaurant sucker born every minute.” He told us of selling the same location multiple times to various restaurant entrepreneurs who thought they had the answer to that location. I hope it works out for them.

    • Steven Reynolds says:

      Restaurant is one of the easiest businesses to get into but one of the hardest to succeed. Low margins on cost of goods sold, very limited shelf life for product, unstable labor force, high overhead costs for retail locations. Actually almost all small business retail is a failure waiting to happen, you can see the first sectors the government let go under and those they protected. If a community is saddled with a lot of debt/taxes and high costs of living, disposable income is almost non existent, who is your customer? A good business model would be rebuilding clarifiers that were improperly installed at wastewater treatment plants around the country.

      • HowlingCicada says:

        Excellent comment.

        But I disagree about disposable income vs taxes, because “high maintenance” (read high tax) communities attract people with more disposable income. This applies within reason — coastal Calif. may be beyond reason and not just because of tax. Maybe I overestimate the ability of people to move to find the right community.

        I agree about debt (big trouble ahead when interest rates rise) and cost of living.

        • Steven Reynolds says:

          That’s a good point, one of the highest returns on investment for a homeowner is how well the school district performs, how well it’s funded and produces a quality product. That’s why an address for West Albany H.S. is 30% higher in cost than a South Albany H.S. address, it’s simple economics.

          The business model is just very different than what it was 20 to 30 years ago, both the private and the public sector are chasing the same public dollars, that’s why most models have a public component to them. It’s not by chance you have company after company coming to city council with a slick power point presentation asking for six figure checks, it’s where the capital is and the city pays top dollar, conversely they’re not giving presentations at one of our local eateries or one of the fraternal organizations like they use to do in the 60’s and 70’s.

          As a mom and pop starting out, there’s just really no way of competing in the brick and mortar (B&M) world against the scalability of these big conglomerates when you’re dealing with the food industry or a lot of other retail. Unless you can significantly reduce one of those factors mentioned above, it’s a no win, even well known franchises are struggling, that’s one big reason why you have the food truck business model getting stronger. The trucks are doing everything they can to not get sucked into paying those heavy financial burdens (like the improvement part of the property taxes and all the additional line items or the water bills with all those line items), plus the significant increases in labor costs, the limitation of a truck keeps those down. At some point the market just is not there to support the levels of a traditional B&M model with all the burdens, the death sentence to any business is overhead and insufficient reserves (banks are asking for 12 months now in many cases for any type of leverage). It takes a lot of resources to live in present day Albany and you have to consistently produce every single month, obviously I wish these people luck, it’s a tough model.

          • Ernest Murphy says:

            I dont understand why you brought up the indoctrination and rape centers masquerading as educational and compare real estate values. Beans are cheap Mexican food is cheap if a family is determind they will make it. We like the one in the old A&W. they have plenty of servers great attitudes and good food.

  7. M. Richner says:

    I am a fan of Mexican restaurants/food and welcome even more choices. I would enjoy a sit-down Indian restaurant in Albany in addition to the offerings at the food truck in Millersburg. At this time only Corvallis has such.


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