MEDFORD, Ore. — A Beaverton-based real estate firm is finishing up the purchase of a fourth hotel in Medford, promising to convert the buildings into long-term housing. Some of these sites are currently occupied by people displaced by the September wildfires.
Fortify Holdings purchased Inn at the Commons from the locally-owned Neuman Hotel Group early this year, with plans to transition the building into a 123-room apartment complex.
Inn at the Commons was just the beginning for Fortify Holdings in the Medford area. The company purchased America's Best Value Inn on N Riverside Avenue and Econo Lodge on S Riverside Avenue at the end of February. Sale of the Ramada on Biddle Road to Fortify was finalized on Friday.
“The housing shortage created by the wildfires is crisis for local families and communities," Ziad Elsahili, president of Fortify Holdings, told NewsWatch 12. "We specialize in quickly converting and improving older motels into housing that is practical and affordable. We look forward to working with non-profit and government housing providers to be part of the housing solution for Southern Oregon."
For the Ramada and Econo Lodge properties, however, there is an added wrinkle — they are currently occupied by victims of the September wildfires.
Elsahili said that he has been working directly with Representative Pam Marsh on the topic of housing for wildfire victims, and displaced individuals will be able to continue living at the properties until there's a viable alternative. Rep. Marsh's office confirmed that they've been working closely on the issue.
"We are proudly partnering with the state of Oregon in providing shelter to fire victims in the interim for as long as needed, with the ultimate goal of creating long term housing solutions for these communities for the future," Elsahili said.
Elsahili clarified that not all of Fortify's properties will be made into affordable housing, depending on buy-in from organizations willing to lease and manage the buildings as such. At least some of the apartment buildings will be leased at "market rate" through property management or rental companies, like most apartments.
The Ramada sale includes the attached Denny's and convention center. For the time being, Denny's will continue to operate as-is, though the fate of the convention center is currently undetermined.