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Rogue Federal buys former USFS property

Rogue Federal Credit Union has purchased the former Forest Service property on the northeast corner of East McAndrews Road and Poplar Drive in Medford.

The Medford-based financial institution paid Bend developers Larry Kine and Dave Swisher $5,591,605 for roughly 5.3 acres, including an adjacent tax lot that was not originally part of the Forest Service's 4.99-acre divestiture. The deal between partners DKS Holdings LLC and LB Kine Holding LLC and the credit union closed Tuesday.

Kine and Swisher bought the property for just over $4.5 million last June with the idea of developing Poplar Station, a mixed-use planned development that included commercial and residential buildings. One of the tenants the partners sought was Rogue Federal Credit Union.

The financial institution had been looking for a place to relocate its north Medford offices, presently located on Royal Court, and liked the idea of Poplar Station's build-to-suit offer.

"We needed a better location with 13/4 acres," said Steve Patterson, RFCU's chief financial officer. "We had bought the (nearby) New York Life Building and were going to remodel it. But as we continued to talk, they decided to sell and we put in an offer."

RFCU offered $25 per square foot and the developers accepted in December.

"We were in negotiations with a number of tenants to lease space, working on a letter of intent with a large restaurant and had general office and medical tenants lined up," said Keller Williams Commercial broker Thomas Fischer, who represented Kine and Swisher in the transaction.

"The deal is an excellent value for Rogue Federal being at a price slightly less than comparable property has been valued ($27 per square foot). In addition, the deal meant a fair return for the owners."

RFCU has recently built offices in Grants Pass and Klamath Falls and has one under way in Eagle Point. It plans to sell its current Royal Court holdings as well as three of the acres it purchased this week.

"We're shooting to be into the new building by the end of 2008 and maybe even January 2009," Patterson said. "We're still figuring out the part of the puzzle whether it will be a two-, three- or four-story building. All of our branch, mortgage, training center and drive-through employees will go over and perhaps one or two other departments as well. We won't know for another 60 days."

Level 5, a Georgia strategic branch analysis operations company, is helping RFCU sort out its options.

"It's a pretty good chunk of money," said Mike Moore, RFCU's chief business development officer. "But this will allow us to better serve our members and maybe provide some new services we couldn't do before."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.