Sponsored by Oregon Business

Bumps in the road for Medford’s downtown

| Print |  Email
Archives - September 2007
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.


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


More Articles

Storyteller in Chief: Power Player

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In 1996, after a 17-year career in the destination marketing industry, where I gained national standing as the CEO of the Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County, I was recruited by the founders of a new professional basketball league for women. The American Basketball League (ABL) hoped to leverage the success of the 1996 USA women’s national team at the Atlanta Olympics — much like USA Soccer is now leveraging the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory in the World Cup. The ABL wanted a team in Portland, and they wanted me to be its general manager.


Car be gone

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 06, 2015
070615car2goblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Car and ride sharing services have taken urban areas by storm. Low-income and suburban communities are left at the curb.


After the Orange Line

Linda Baker
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
090815-trimet-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Alan Lehto, TriMet's director of policy & planning, shares a few thoughts on ride sharing and more nimble bus services.


Money Troubles

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.


Adjusting to the New Economy

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A conversation with Jonathan Bennett, managing partner at law firm Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue.


Back to School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone. 


Grain Food

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Power Lunch at Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store and Restaurant.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02