Tentative agreement reached for big downtown office project

An agreement to build a $9 million, four-story, 105,000 square-foot corporate office around the Evergreen parking garage tentatively has been reached by Medford officials and three local companies.

Pacific Retirement Systems Inc., Rogue Disposal and Recycling, and Procare Software have joined together to build the office complex at West Main Street, South Fir Street and West Eighth Street.

"We've got three great groups coming together to make this happen," said Brian McLemore

The building would be 50 percent larger than the new Lithia headquarters on Riverside Avenue and could set the stage for a more corporate profile in the downtown.

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency will contribute $2 million as an incentive toward the project. Within 30 days of receiving a binding contract, the MURA will provide the first $1 million. When only $1 million is left to spend to complete the building, MURA will contribute the other $1 million.

The design of the building will be similar to the Rogue Community College-Southern Oregon University building on Riverside Avenue.

On the first floor, the building would house restaurants, retail and some offices.

If approved by the MURA board on Oct. 18, the project would begin in spring 2013 and be completed by fall 2014.

The Evergreen parking garage has been a problem for city officials seeking to revitalize the downtown.

In 2008, the Bella Vita, a proposed residential complex, failed in part because of disputes over prevailing wage issues. The state Bureau of Labor and Industries eventually ruled that the project was required to use the more expensive prevailing wages standard because of its connection to the publicly funded parking structure. With the economy in a tailspin, the developer pulled out.

The $10.2 million Evergreen garage was built in 2006, originally designed for a residential complex to be built on three sides.

The three companies will pay prevailing wages on the office complex project.

In addition, MURA will allow the three companies to take 200 spaces in the Evergreen parking garage, which is currently not widely used.

The companies will also lease 100 spaces at $10 a month for each space.

As a result, the 75 percent of the 395 spaces in the garage will be used by the three companies.

— Damian Mann


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