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Medford Center owners invest in city's future

Medford Center, which longtime residents know as a shopping complex that has seen better days, may be headed for better days again with the announcement of major remodeling by the present owners.

LBG Real Estate Companies LLC of Los Angeles, which purchased the complex last year for $22.175 million, plans to construct a tower at the corner of the anchor Sears store, rising up to 80 feet on the southwest corner of the Sears building, visible from the Interstate 5 viaduct. The tower would have the words Medford Center on the side as well as advertising some of the major tenants of the complex.

Other plans in the works call for a redesigned courtyard with outdoor seating and a large canopy. 

Medford Center was built 55 years ago as an open-air shopping complex. The central promenade later was roofed over, leaving a less inviting space inside. The opening of the Rogue Valley Mall in 1986 and big-box stores at the north and south ends of town cut into its market share over the years.

The new owners say a reluctance to invest in the property by previous owners has hurt the center's performance, and they vow to update its look and attract new tenants. In particular, new tenants could include restaurants and a brewpub along the central promenade. 

An LBG partner mentioned the remodeling of Hawthorne Park and future plans for a sky bridge connecting the park with the Inn at The Commons. While Medford Center isn't technically part of downtown, it is close by. Improvements to the aging shopping complex likely can be considered part of the halo effect of The Commons and other urban renewal efforts over the past several years.

It's good to see out-of-town investors demonstrate confidence in Medford's core by making major improvements to a property with the potential to contribute to the city's commercial future.