Medford sees remodeling jobs as a sign of improvement

Major remodeling projects are increasing in number in Medford, inspiring new confidence in economic recovery.

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Commercial building is looking up, according to developers and builders in Southern Oregon.

After a “dismal” end to 2009, new remodeling projects in shopping centers bring investments from big chains such as Fred Meyer and Best Buy.

To illustrate how steep the decline in commercial building was last year, the city of Medford issued 209 permits for $17.95 million of construction and remodeling during 2009, while in October 2008 alone there were 37 permits issued for $67.66 million worth of activity.

“There is a glimmer out there,” said Aaron Ausland of Ausland Construction in Grants Pass, which is doing a $300,000 expansion for Bob Thomas Auto on Rossanley Drive in Medford. “There’s not a great deal of current work, but on the consulting side where people are formulating plans for one to five years down the road, there is an immense buildup. Short term, things don’t look much better, but the potential looks better over the long run. We have more contracts for consulting on projects down the road than I’ve seen in the last 15 years. There is pent-up demand for both public and private entities, who have vision and know they can execute at some point, but they don’t have the construction revenue today.”

Read the whole story at the Mail Tribune.

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