New Starbucks to overlook Park Block One

Local purveyors were courted; none stepped up
A new Starbucks shop will go in on the southwest corner of the Lithia Motors headquarters in downtown Medford.

In the caffeine-crazed realm known as Medford, Starbucks has grabbed center stage.

Choosing to go where others feared to tread, Starbucks will soon occupy 1,600 square feet of ground floor space overlooking The Commons and Park Block One.

Mark DeBoer, Lithia Motors' real estate vice president, said everyone from Dutch Bros. to Mellelo Coffee was given the tour of Lithia Motors headquarters' southwest corner site.

Ultimately, Seattle-based Starbucks signed on the dotted line, adding to its high-profile locations, which include the Rogue Valley Mall, Barnes & Noble and the Delta Center shopping area.

"We would've liked to have partnered with a local coffee shop and met with every coffee provider in the valley," DeBoer said. "That was our top choice, but no one stepped up."

Price, DeBoer said, shouldn't have been an issue.

"We were willing to subsidize a little on the rent," he said, noting the reluctance for some may have been more about the walk-in nature of the shop space.

"They're used to the drive-thru approach," he said.

Starbucks plans to open its downtown location in March or early April, DeBoer said.

A deal with Anytime Fitness, on the northeast corner of the Lithia building, was announced earlier.

"Starbucks is like an anchor," DeBoer said. "Once they get signed up, people tend to follow."

Spaces of 2,200 square feet and 700 square feet remain available.

"Starbucks has been committed to opening a downtown store, but it actually turned out quite a bit larger than their typical urban cafe design," DeBoer said. "It's unique to our area with the latest and greatest design."

The coffee shop will seat 60 to 80 inside with "a bunch of outdoor seating," he said. "It faces the play structure (in The Commons park block), so you can hang out and watch the kids play in the park."

Just to the north of its headquarters, Lithia is redeveloping the old Monarch Building, one that could house a local brewery.

"We did a conceptual plan, showing a brewery," DeBoer said. "There's no one specifically in mind, but we're working with local artisans to come up with an interior farmer's market-type design."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.


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