A groundbreaking ceremony for a massive office complex that will change the face of downtown Medford is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, July 12.
Unfortunately, there will be very little ground to break because a concrete slab was poured when the Evergreen parking garage was built in 2006.
"We've been asked to bring in a dump truck of dirt," said Bob Mayers, chief executive officer of Adroit Construction Co. of Ashland.
The dirt, which will be removed after the ceremony, will provide a photo opportunity for the three companies behind the 116,599-square-foot office complex that will surround the Evergreen parking garage.
Pacific Retirement Services, Procare Software and Rogue Disposal and Recycling will build the $8.3 million, four-story One West Main complex at the corners of West Main, Fir and Eighth streets. After the building shell is completed, the three companies will spend several million dollars more on the interior.
As part of the agreement, the Medford Urban Renewal Agency will set aside 200 spaces for the three companies in the Evergreen parking garage, which is currently not heavily used. The companies also will lease another 100 spaces at $10 a month per space.
MURA will provide a $2 million incentive to build the One West Main complex.
City officials have pursued various private partnerships to build around the Evergreen garage.
A proposal for a six-story retail, office and residential project known as the Winetrout Building was shelved in 2002 over legal issues.
The parking structure was completed in 2006, but a residential and commercial project known as Bella Vita died in 2008, primarily over disputes around prevailing-wage issues. With the economy sputtering, the developer pulled out.
Chris Reising, director of the Medford Building Department, said the final steps are being completed for the issuance of building permits within about a week.
The estimated fees the city will charge for the building are $662,680, with $573,349 for street fees.
Brian McLemore, president and chief executive officer of PRS, said that putting the deal together with three corporations has proven time consuming. He said the finishing touches are still being worked out for the loan documents.
"It's big, and with multiple owners, it's pretty complicated," he said.
Each of the partners has different architects working on the interior portion of the building.
At the same time, the partners have been looking for tenants for the ground floor as well as for a portion of each of the remaining floors.
McLemore said he hopes to announce in about a month a major tenant for the ground floor. He said he's hoping to get a mix of a restaurant, coffee shop and other retail.
Construction will take about a year, but McLemore said he hopes the roof is on the building by winter.
Mayer said his company will mobilize equipment and materials on July 15, with construction starting on July 22.
Because the building will occupy most of the space, parking lanes on Main Street and Eighth Street will be blocked.
Also, Fir Street between Main and Eighth streets will be closed during construction.
"Our biggest constraint is the site — there's just not that much space," Mayer said.
In the middle of September, when the steel beams arrive, a travel lane on Eighth also will have to be closed temporarily to allow enough room for a crane to be set up, he said.
Although the Evergreen has a slab already in place, Adroit will pour another slab on top to a height that will make it more easily accessible from the sidewalk.
Additional structural supports will be added underneath the slab.
Otherwise, the parking garage structure is in pretty good shape, Mayer said.
Just a few blocks away on Eighth Street, Jackson County is building a new health services complex that became an attraction in the downtown when the old Postal Service building was demolished.
Mayer said he expects the One West Main project also will be popular with many locals.
"I'm sure it will attract a crowd," he said.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email@example.com.