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Legacy house will remain in local hands

JACKSONVILLLE — A piece of city history has exchanged hands and is staying under local control.

The heirs of longtime local benefactor Robbie Collins have sold the historic P.J. Ryan dwelling at 135. S. Third St. to Veritas Corp. of Medford, owned by Mark DeBoer.

South Stage Cellars operates at the location, and will continue its tenancy.

"I think we're on the cusp of becoming a Napa Valley-type wine region," said DeBoer, who partnered with Doug and Becky Neuman to acquire the Nunan Estate in 2016. "Anytime you can get something to do with history, it's a real opportunity."

David Collins and his sisters, Barbara Heyerman and Julia Siporin, inherited several Jacksonville properties when their uncle died in 2003. They were collectively known as Jacksonville Heritage Properties.

"We've felt our responsibility was to continue the legacy, maintain the buildings, and be good stewards of the historic properties," Collins said.

The July sale of the Ryan dwelling was the last property the siblings owned.

Collins is a 1964 Medford High graduate and retired Hewlett-Packard marketer who lives in the Bay Area. He remembers Jacksonville when it was somewhat the antithesis of today.

"I went away to college, so I didn't see the transformation firsthand," Collins said. "But over the past 40 or 50 years, Jacksonville has gone from a dusty backwater to what it is now."

South Stage Cellars serves as the tasting room for wines produced from Quail Run Vineyards grapes. Marketing Director Porscha Schiller said there was angst among the staff and clients when the building was put up for sale.

"Waiting and wonder was a trying experience," she said.

The sellers and Cellars' crowd were on the same page.

"There were two criteria that stood out for us when we decided to sell," Collins said. "We wanted someone who would have real respect and reverance for the property, because it's one of the crown jewels of the downtown historic district. Second, we were looking for someone we hoped would appreciate the current tenants who have been there for 10 years. South Stage Cellars has really enlivened the downtown experience."

While South Stage Cellars had rented on a month-to-month basis, DeBoer said the winery now has a long-term lease.

"They can stay and grow their business," DeBoer said.

The majority of daily tourism and retail activity center on California Street. DeBoer said the property comes with an easement to California Street from the side garden and patio between two other buildings.

Sometime next year, he plans to upgrade the back garden, where Peter Britt grew grapes in the 19th century.

  — Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

South Stage Cellars operates this wine garden and tasting room in downtown Jacksonville. [Mail Tribune / Andy Atkinson]