Medford's long-awaited, community-owned market of local, organic food won't debut before January, co-op organizers say.

Medford's long-awaited, community-owned market of local, organic food won't debut before January, co-op organizers say.

Organizers previously had hoped to open the Medford Food Co-op in December, but approval of building permits didn't proceed as quickly as expected, says Jim Sims, co-op president.

The co-op's building, at 945 S. Riverside Ave. in south Medford, has undergone interior demolition, but contractor Medford-based Batzer Construction can't begin new construction until the city checks off on the plans.

"We don't plan to do any renovations to the front of the building," Sims says. "If you drive by, you won't see anything happening, but the interior of the building has been completely dismantled."

The $250,000 in renovations are part of a lease agreement between Batzer, which owns the building, and co-op organizers.

Planning staff at the city of Medford were off today for the Thanksgiving holiday and were not available to confirm when the co-op's building permit might be issued.

Co-op organizers have raised about $650,000 in shares, member loans and donations since a failed attempt to open a co-op in 2007.

Members have purchased a total of about 1,600 shares, Sims says. Co-ops allow for member shoppers to share in the profits from sales in the grocery enterprise.

Project reports will be available soon at medfordfoodcoop.com

— Paris Achen