Commercial construction provided the foothold the last time Medford struggled out of a deep economic hole.

Commercial construction provided the foothold the last time Medford struggled out of a deep economic hole.

Bob Reed hopes that scenario will be duplicated in the months ahead.

The developer of Lone Pine Square at the intersection of Lone Pine and Foothill roads expects building permits for the second and third businesses on the 6-acre commercial center to be issued sometime this week.

Anytime Fitness and Lone Pine Drug are poised to begin construction with an eye on an early fall opening. Dentists James Catt and Jeff Childreth were the first occupants, opening JC Dental last month.

"In the 1980s, when things were bad," Reed said, "it was commercial construction that came back first, then multi-family buildings and then residential."

The center was approved just in time for the economy to start slowing in the middle of the past decade. Its completed parking lot and pad structure sat idle until late last year. Now, there's momentum. "We've got something going and I'm pretty enthused about it," Reed said.

The projects are being financed with Small Business Administration-backed loans through People's Bank of Commerce.

When he was first approached about opening a pharmacy at Lone Pine Square four years ago, Isaac Wine admits he wasn't ready to make the leap. Wine had acquired part ownership of Christensen's Downtown Pharmacy in 2006 and bought the remaining portion in 2007 and moved the business across the street. But the recessionary forces delaying the center's start gave Wine time to develop a different approach and character.

"We're going to have a full pharmacy, but since there's not anything else for a mile and a half in either direction we'll have some household goods, too," Wine said. "It will be big enough to do things we can't do downtown like compounding and carrying durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers."

Riverdell Construction of Central Point will build the 3,000-square-foot pharmacy, which will cost about $300,000.

Anytime Fitness of Central Point is expanding its reach into east Medford with a 5,700-square-foot operation that will be built by Malot Construction.

The gym will feature cardio equipment, free weights, multi-functional station equipment, group fitness classes, personal training, massage therapy, a private sauna and showers along with a tanning bed. The Central Point location of Anytime Fitness opened in 2008.