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

Unshakable

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Ben Kaiser holds his ground.


Read more...

Flattery with Numbers

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The false promise of economic impact statements.


Read more...

Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Read more...

Business partnerships: taming the three-headed monster

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 06, 2015
070615-businessmarriagefail-thumbBY KATHERINE HEEKIN | OB GUEST COLUMNIST

Picking a business partner is not much different than choosing a spouse or life partner, and the business break-up can be as heart-wrenching and costly as divorce.


Read more...

Business School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Training, from the mundane to the sublime, bolsters companies and workers in an uncertain world.


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


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