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Mellelo Coffee Roasters buys old Central Point fire station

CENTRAL POINT ' City planners who have been trying to revitalize a sleepy downtown are in for a dose of java come spring.

City officials announced Monday that corporate headquarters, training facilities and roasting operations for Mellelo Coffee Roasters soon will move into the old firehouse downtown. The operation won't include a coffee shop.

The City Council declared the 5,360-square-foot building available Dec. 11 and almost immediately had an offer from Mellelo, said Tom Humphrey, Central Point community development director.

He said Sal Mellelo paid about &

36;200,000 for the building. Mellelo estimated the sale would close within 20 days.

Built in 1956, the building known as Station 7/8 was constructed for the Central Point Fire Department. It closed in 2000 after Central Point became part of Jackson County Fire District No. 3.

— Mellelo, whose company currently is headquartered on Schultz Road in Central Point, said he chose the old firehouse because of its central location and because of his fondness for old buildings.

I like old buildings and I thought this was a building that could be remodeled and put to good use, he said. I think that the staff members at the city of Central Point, they're very nice people to deal with and they seem to use a lot of common sense.

Humphrey said the addition of Mellelo's headquarters, which is often visited by clients from out of the area, would be a boost to ongoing efforts to breathe life into the struggling downtown. The city says the operation will employ more than a dozen workers.

I think the thing that I'm most enthused about is that we're bringing an active business into the downtown that has the potential to use other services, Humphrey said. This will be a wonderful addition for the city of Central Point.

Mellelo said the firehouse will undergo extensive remodeling beginning April 1.

Upon completion, his corporate offices will be upstairs and training and showroom displays will be downstairs.

Mellelo said he will move most, but not all, roasting operations from the company's Lear Way location in Medford. The Lear Way coffee shop will remain open.

Buffy Pollock is a free-lance writer living in Medford.E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.City classes to relocate

City parks and recreation classes held at the city's old firehouse, known as Station 7/8, will move elsewhere after winter classes end in March.

That's even though the new owner expects to take control of the building by next month.

We're happy to do it. We didn't want to kick anybody out into the cold, said Sal Mellelo of Mellelo Coffee Roasters, which purchased the building. This is just coffee.

Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Hanson said she hopes the classes can move to the Central Point Elementary School gym following Mellelo's occupancy of the firehouse.

Some city officials also are suggesting Central Point consider using proceeds from the firehouse sale ' about &

36;200,000 ' toward building a community center, where classes could be held permanently.