Bumps in the road for Medford’s downtown

| Print |  Email
Saturday, September 01, 2007

DowntownMedford.jpgMEDFORD Its library was forced to close its doors, and one of its cornerstone developments is on ice, but champions of downtown Medford are still optimistic that their plans for a revitalized core are on track.

The Bella Vita on Main, the mixed-use development that was heralded by the Medford Urban Renewal Agency (MURA) as a cornerstone development, is on hold indefinitely because of the environment for real-estate finance. “The markt is solid,” says Bella Vita’s  developer Terry Cook, “but financing is impossible.” Cook, of Portland-based Cook Development, says he had about 50% of the retail and residential building pre-sold but after pitches to 64 lending sources, he came up empty.

Still, MURA director Jackie Rodgers is optimistic that other downtown redevelopment projects will pick up the slack. Ground may be broken as early as October on The Commons, an eight-block development project (including three blocks of open space) anchored by the Lithia Motors headquarters. A Bartlett Street overhaul is also well under way and the street will eventually break through a parking structure that currently breaks its flow. A new higher education building for Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University should be done by fall 2008.

Rodgers also points out that dozens of downtown buldings have received facelifts through the city’s façade program, receiving grants between $1,000 and $37,500 to spiff up historic structures.

Salvatore Mellelo, who started his Mellelo Coffee Roasters business in a corner espresso stand in 1992, says he’s pleased with the progress downtown is making, despite the fact that he was forced to close one of his three downtown shops, the one at the downtown branch of the library, due to a lack of foot traffic. Jackson County closed its libraries in April when officials were unable to find a funding source.

“When I first started, I didn’t see much in the way of loving downtown,” Mellelo says. “But I’ve always loved downtown. I thought, ‘I know what this could be.’”

Despite the setbacks, he still does.

CHRISTINA WILLIAMS

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

Live, Work, Play: Amen Teter

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.


Read more...

4 married couples who work together

The Latest
Thursday, January 22, 2015
IMG 0020BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

They say maintaining a healthy marriage takes work. So does running a business with your spouse.


Read more...

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

On the Brink

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Leslie Carlson channels the big idea.


Read more...

Labor Pains

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS