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

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

Uncertainty about convention center hotel could cost Portland an NBA All-Star Game

The Latest
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
463545460BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

NBA commissioner: "I would love to end up having an All-Star Game in Portland. It's really just a function of ensuring that we can fit in town."


Read more...

10 Twitter highlights from #OR100Best

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
100bestBY OB STAFF

Oregon Business held its  22nd annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon celebration Thursday night in the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Light Moves

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.


Read more...

Green Rush: Cashing in on legal marijuana

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.


Read more...

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


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