Steel girders are being hoisted and bolted together to form the bones of what will be one of the biggest office complexes in downtown Medford.
Work on the 116,599-square-foot building that now resembles a giant erector set began recently and will wrap around three sides of the Evergreen parking garage.
One West Main, as the building is called, will house Pacific Retirement Services, Procare Software and Rogue Disposal and Recycling.
"This part is going to go so fast," said Brian McLemore, PRS president and chief executive officer. "We have steel trucks coming in every few days."
McLemore said only minor difficulties have popped up, such as changing the type of roofing material because it will have to be installed in December when temperatures hover around freezing.
Despite the high-profile nature of the $8.3 million project, some local residents are surprised when they learn about it and wonder why the companies are locating here, he said.
"We've got to change the mentality of, 'You're moving to downtown Medford. Why?' " McLemore said.
General contractor Adroit Construction Co. of Ashland expects the construction will take about a year.
Almost 400 workers will be involved in the project.
"Most of the tradesmen are from the area," said Adroit President Steve Lawrence.
He said that of the 35 subcontractors on the job, only a few are from out of the area, including the crew installing the steel girders.
Adroit crews are performing concrete, demolition and carpentry work.
After the building shell is completed, the three companies will spend several million dollars more on the interior.
Lawrence said the building is one of many big projects the company has undertaken recently.
Adroit just finished up the new 700-bed, 230,000-square-foot dormitory project at Southern Oregon University.
Previously it built the new terminal at the Medford airport, which was 100,000 square feet.
Lawrence said the downtown office complex project has been going smoothly so far.
The biggest difficulty is the lack of a staging area for supplies.
"There is limited space around the building," he said.
A section of Fir Street from Main to Eighth streets has been closed during construction, and lanes on Main and Eighth will be closed at times.
The road leading to the parking garage has to remain open at all times, and the garage itself is still open to the public.
Medford city Councilor Bob Strosser said he will be glad to have the three local companies move into the downtown.
"It's gratifying at long last to see some progress to bring more life into the downtown in the form of this building," he said.
The Medford Urban Renewal Agency owns the property and the parking garage, and it entered into an agreement with the three companies to allow them to construct the building.
The city had tried over the years to get a private company to build around the parking garage, completed in 2006.
"It's taken a while to bring this project to fruition, and I'm glad to see the progress being made," Strosser said.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.