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Waremart sues for lost lease

Says firm vowed to rent ex-Kmart site in Medford

Waremart is suing a New York corporation and its Oregon subsidiary for allegedly reneging on an offer to lease the former Kmart property in Medford.

In a suit filed Monday in Jackson County Circuit, the Idaho-based Waremart seeks $125,000 for the cost of a traffic study to provide a new signal on Barnett Road plus legal costs -- or the right to re-execute a lease for the site.

Attorneys for the two corporations in Portland and New York could not be reached for comment.

The property is owned by TSMC, an Oregon subsidiary of the New York-based RD Management. Waremart claims TSMC used its traffic study to win approval of a traffic signal in front of the property.

Waremart originally proposed the traffic signal, but when the Medford City Council turned it down in June 1997, the corporation exercised its right to terminate a lease agreement with TSMC two weeks later. Thereafter, TSMC continued to seek approval for the traffic signal. The council reversed its earlier decision in June 1998.

The complaint filed Monday alleges that about the time the lease agreement was terminated, TSMC told Waremart and others, including city officials, that it would re-execute the lease agreement with Waremart if and when the city approved a revised traffic signal plan. Waremart then contacted TSMC to re-execute the lease agreement, but TSMC refused, the complaint states.

In the past, Waremart officials said they hoped to open a grocery superstore in the 80,000 square-foot Kmart building. The building has been empty since Kmart vacated the premises in 1996.