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Tire store planned for Hometown Buffet site

file photo The former Hometown Buffet could be a future Discount Tire store.

Plans are underway for the region’s second Discount Tire store to be built at the corner of East Barnett and East Stewart roads, on the site of the old Hometown Buffet restaurant.

Medford officials confirmed that an application received last week from Discount Tire will be reviewed April 2 by the Site Plan and Architectural Commission.

Kristina Johnsen, communications and marketing manager for the city of Medford, said plans for the project, reviewed March 10 by the city’s Land Development Committee, call for demolition of the existing building and parking lot on the parcel.

At present, the parcel is situated with an aging restaurant building falling into disrepair, frequently used for makeshift camping and with graffiti regularly appearing on exterior walls.

The former restaurant was a fixture at the corner for nearly five decades before it unexpectedly closed in September 2019.

Johnsen said redevelopment of the busy corner parcel would be a welcome upgrade.

“We’re happy to see the property be redeveloped,” she said.

“This continues a trend of strong commercial and land development here in Medford,” she said.

Central Point resident Katrina Sewell, a former manager at the restaurant, said it was bittersweet to see the restaurant planned for demolition but encouraging for the property to potentially be revived.

Prior to, and since, the Medford closure, a slew of other Hometown Buffet restaurants have shuttered with a remaining few reorganizing under a changed name“It’s a little sad to see it gone because it was there for so long and was a big part of Medford. It was always the thing, growing up, to go after sports games or for family dinners,” she said.

“We had kids night and the balloon guy and magician would walk around to the tables. It was just the place to go but I guess it’s an end of an era.”

“It sucks that Hometown went away, but it’s not reopening at this point, and now it’s been sitting for so long that it’s literally being taken over and destroyed. Every time you go by, there’s new graffiti on the wall and people living there. It’s an unsafe situation at this point and for people walking into Fred Meyer,” she said.

“People were already breaking in and causing problems when it was still open as a restaurant. One night we had a guy practicing axe throwing against our back door, because he was bored while he charged his phone… Obviously I wish it was something a little more exciting than a Discount Tire but at least someone will move in and take better care of the property.”

If plans are approved, Discount Tire would construct an 8,200-square-foot building with landscaping and other site improvements. Project coordinators for Discount Tire did not return calls this week by the Mail Tribune.

To view the proposed project, visit online, cityofmedford.org

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com