Ashland's Croman Mill project progresses

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
McGrew_Mill_late_1960s
Aerial view of Croman Mill circa 1960

Croman Mill, which takes up 65 acres inside Ashland’s city limits along I-5, is a reminder of a bygone area for a town now known more for Shakespeare than two-by-fours. The property has been dormant since the mill’s 1996 closure but plans for a redevelopment are moving ahead despite the fears of local businesses.

The Ashland Planning Commission approved plans in late February to rezone the site to develop single-family residential units, light industrial and manufacturing buildings, and a plethora of retail businesses, including restaurants, offices, nightclubs, bars and shops. Development is expected to take decades and be a source of major economic activity.

“It is a very, very important addition for the area and the region,” says Ron Fox, the executive director of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. Ashland has very little land for development. Ashland businesses could expand or move; new businesses may move to the area.

“The whole idea is to create jobs for Ashland for the next 20 years,” says Ashland planning manager Maria Harris.

Planners estimate that 2,000 to 3,000 jobs will be created. “It will be a big portion of our future job growth,” says Adam Hank, project manager with the city of Ashland.

The plan is not without detractors. Zach Brombacher, the owner of printing company IPCO, says the millions it will cost for road improvements and creating sewer and electric systems will make rent so high businesses won’t move there. “They’re probably pricing themselves out,” he says.

Fear felt by local business owners is reminiscent of a similar redevelopment of a mill area a decade ago. There was concern that the Old Mill District would destroy Bend’s downtown businesses. But Chuck Arnold, the president of the Downtown Bend Business Association, says the district’s mix of retail and larger chain stores complements downtown’s small boutique businesses.

“The existence of the Old Mill doesn’t seem to create this dynamic of downtown versus Old Mill,” Arnold says.

A downtown business district co-existing with a business district with different offerings has helped Bend maintain a strong, diversified and vibrant economy. “That’s what Ashland should look into,” he says. 

AMANDA WALDROUPE
 

Comments   

 
M. Hawkins
0 #1 Good news for AshlandM. Hawkins 2010-04-14 12:32:58
I live and work not too far from the Croman site and can't wait to have that area redeveloped. Ashland desperately needs some economic diversification and that property has been an eyesore for years.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


Read more...

Fly Zone

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.


Read more...

The Bookseller

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Everyone knows college is expensive, but a look at the numbers brings that into sharp — and painful — focus.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


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