Plans for new Panda Express, Starbucks in Medford delayed

Locations slated for area near new Super Walmart

Plans for a second Panda Express Medford location hit a bump in the road during a hearing before Site Plan and Architectural Commission last week.

Panda Express and Starbucks are two of the tenants slated for two buildings totaling 7,895 square feet on a 1.45-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Center Drive and Rogue Federal Way.

CFT Developments LLC of Rosemead, Calif., the same city where Panda Express has its headquarters, is the applicant for the project.

Planning staff had recommended approval for the project, but neighboring Rogue Federal Credit Union asked that comments be extended for seven days, meaning at least two weeks since the applicant, in turn, receives another seven days to respond.

At issue, said Gene Pelham, RFCU's chief executive officer, is the entrance and exit to the new development off Rogue Federal Way, an east-west link between Highway 99 and Center Drive. The proposed access differs from the previous agreement between the credit union and Walmart, whose super store is across the street.

"The plans submitted add an extra exit on Rogue Federal Way and that makes the traffic situation much more difficult than it already is," Pelham said. "We're asking the city to take a look at it, because it conflicts with what has already been agreed upon when we relocated Center Court."

Panda Express would occupy one building, while up to four tenants would go into the second structure.

Pelham said RFCU had no issue with new commercial activity on the property, just the short distance between entry to the credit union and the new commercial complex.

"We're excited to have Panda Express and Starbucks coming," he said. "We're excited to have those options within walking distance, we just think the design will exacerbate current (driving) challenges we experience here already."

Kelly Aiken, a senior planner with the city, said the matter will be on the Site Plan and Architectural Commission agenda for Aug. 16.

A spokesperson for Reiter Design Group Architects in Beaverton — the agent for the Panda Express proposal — declined comment. Telephone calls and emails to Panda Express were not returned.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness.

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