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Technology park proposed in White City

R.A. Murphy Construction & Development aims to develop an 80-acre technology park in White City.

Last winter, R.A. Murphy Construction acquired a parcel between Avenue and Denman Wildlife Area with the intention of building master-planned Rogue Valley Technology Park — the first of its kind in Southern Oregon.

"It's our region's premier state-certified shovel ready industrial site," said Mark VonHolle, business development director at R.A. Murphy. "You couldn't ask for a better setting, backing up to Denman Wildlife Area with views of the Table Rocks and Mount McLouglin."

A former board president for both Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc., and Sustainable Valley Technology Group, VonHolle has long beat the high-tech drum, raising awareness while pursuing community and governmental investment.

One company VonHolle has been courting would employ 300 people on eight acres.

"Multiply that by 10 and you could have 3,000 jobs out there," he said. "But it's not going to happen overnight."

Rather than develop conceptual drawings, VonHolle said the tenants will have a better idea of what they want for facilities ranging from 10,000 square to 150,000 square feet.

Heather Staff, executive director for Sustainable Valley Technology Group, sees a lot of promise in such a business park.

"It would be an incredible asset," Stafford said. "It could be a destination for early-stage and developing companies. We're between San Francisco and Portland — and Seattle. So we're central to those huge markets where (academic researchers) with patents could test and prove the viability of their technologies. "

VonHolle is aware that certified shovel-ready parcels don't have a long shelf life. The 13 lots comprising the 80 acres west of the District 3 fire station and just east of Carestream Health had to be re-certified.

"I don't want to over-promise under-deliver on this," VonHolle said. "Remember this an area that has been vacant since World War II, but I do think we will have commitments lined up by end of the year and all the commitments in place within three years. It's not going to happen over night."

— Greg Stiles

Read more in Wednesday's Mail Tribune.