MEDFORD, Ore. – Lithia Motors’ impending move toward Highway 62 will create a void near the downtown Medford area, according to Medford City Councilors.
Lithia is planning to move several dealerships to new buildings next to its existing superstore location on Highway 62. The BMW, Nissan and Volkswagen dealerships will be moving within the next few months, and a new building is being constructed for the Honda dealership. Lithia is holding a hiring event Thursday for new employees at the Nissan store.
City councilors said when Lithia vacates their existing lots, the city will need to adjust in order to continue to stoke the downtown economy.
“As for the car lots, it’s going to leave a hole, and it is going to have to be private sector that fills that hole,” said city councilor Chris Corcoran.
But Corcoran said the Commons building could help soften the blow of losing the car lots near downtown. He said the city could invest in establishing that area as a spot for more corporate headquarters.
“The good news is, we’ve got the plum. We’ve got the Lithia headquarters building,” he said. “We’ve got the two park blocks. So in reality, we have a magnet for economic development.”
Corcoran said it will likely be private businesses that could buy the existing car lots. He was unsure if the city would be interested in buying those properties.