The Medford Urban Renewal Agency board agreed Thursday to pay $525,000 to buy the former Dollar GMC lot at 225 S. Riverside Ave., for use as a parking lot that could benefit college students.
"We all felt this was the best use of the property," said Alan DeBoer, one of the partners who owns the 1.33-acre property on the northeast corner of East 10th Street and Riverside.
Dollar moved its location to Airport Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac on Biddle Road in 2011. Another Dollar lot to the south, which would be unaffected by this sale, is being used by the U.S. Postal Service.
City officials estimate that 100 parking spaces could be placed on the property, though the exact amount could depend on riparian setbacks.
Bill Hoke, deputy city administrator, said a rough estimate to raze the existing buildings and to lay down the asphalt could be around $450,000, raising the total cost of the project to about $1 million.
The city would also like to improve Bear Creek frontage on the lot in a continuing effort to eradicate blackberries and plant native species.
Councilor Bob Strosser said the sale underscores the behind-the-scenes efforts to address parking needs in the downtown.
"We have been actively engaged in the concerns about parking," Strosser said.
In particular, students at Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University have complained about the lack of nearby parking to their campus. Downtown businesses also have complained about students taking over parking lots.
Some college students use the nearby Middleford parking garage, which has been running nearly full at times.
Councilor Al Densmore said, "This is going to be a special help to the pressures of parking."
No appraisal of the lot was undertaken, but the Jackson County Assessor pegs the value at almost $900,000, including buildings.
"You definitely came down from the market price," Councilor Chris Corcoran told DeBoer at the MURA meeting.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.