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Out with the old, in with the profit

MEDFORD — Even in bad economic times, plenty of opportunities exist for people with a little imagination.

Medford development firm KOGAP wanted to rid itself of a half-dozen or so warehouse and storage buildings on its old mill site near the corner of Highway 99 and Garfield Street.

Ron Hailicka, who owns an equipment company in Butte Falls, didn't necessarily have a need for 170,000 square feet worth of metal buildings. But he knew plenty of people could use them, and he knew where to find help dismantling and rebuilding the structures.

"They were trying to sell them one at a time, and we made an offer to buy them all," Hailicka said. "We've got to have them all out by March."

The buildings have a variety of uses, but Hailicka said they most likely will end up in rural areas. "Agriculture uses are the easiest," he said. "Like horse arenas."

Hailicka is well-connected throughout the area, having built roads in the woods for the timber industry. "I haven't done metal buildings before," he said. "But I'm a wildcatter and I do whatever comes along. I guess this will add to what I put on my business card."

Hailicka discussed the project with Ken Brown of Ken Brown Construction, and the two didn't take long to draw up a strategy.

"About two minutes," Hailicka said. "Doing it all at once made the labor much more efficient."

Hailicka coupled his crew with Brown's personnel, and deconstruction began.

The site has the makings of an old-fashioned Erector Set. But instead of breaking open the box and spreading the pieces all over the ground, the pieces are being coded and packed away for transportation and reassembling.

"We use different colors of paint, striping and numbers so they can be put back together in the proper sequence," Hailicka said.

Adept Crane Service of White City has been assisting with removal of second-story beams.

"That's the last of the tough parts," Hailicka said.

After Brown's crew tears the buildings down, they can be reconstructed on-site.

The first relocated building is going up near Woodland, Calif., and the second will go up in the Applegate Valley.

"They can be reconstructed for approximately 50 percent of what it would cost for a new building," Hailicka said. "(KOGAP) has crews, and they knew what it would cost to take them down. So we were at that or less."

KOGAP has plans for a mixed-use development along the Highway 99 corridor. Edward Istel, vice president for development, said once a warehouse expansion south of Garfield Street was finished, it no longer needed the buildings.

"We're just building up to project," Istel said. "With the economy in low gear, it's slow going. But we're still moving ahead."

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

Workers dismantle one of several steel buildings on the northwest corner of Garfield Street and South Pacific Highway. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Jim Craven