Commons Fills Vacant Retail Spaces

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Sounds of construction can be heard at the Commons and after more than a year of being empty, retails spaces are starting to fill up.

“We’ve been touting this project as kind of a re- branding and re-energization of downtown, so we really wanted somebody like Starbucks. We kind of set out to target them, initially,” Lithia Motors Vice President of Cooperate Development, Mark Deboer.

Deboer said they could have filled the spaces sooner, but were looking for businesses that fit their vision of downtown.  With Starbucks and Anytime Fitness moving in, the Commons will go from having one retail space filled, to only one still available.

“We’d love to get some local folks that want to invest in downtown and join Anytime and Starbucks here at the Commons,” said Deboer.

Officials said the new businesses are just one of several projects and signs of economic development downtown.

“It takes a while before things really start to show, bricks being laid, buildings going up, that type of stuff,” said Medford Deputy City Manager Bill Hoke.

Vacant store fronts can still be found, even on Main Street.  Hoke said developing the downtown economy take more than shops and restaurants.

“You also still have to have that residential component. You have to have people living there, working there and walking there,” said Hoke.

Both Deboer and Hoke think with improving economies, come thriving downtowns.

“I think people are reinvigorating downtowns all over the country, so it’s exciting to be a part of that here in my home town,” said Deboer.