Balsiger Property Returns to City Council
This article was in Monday’s (January 21st, 2019) Herald and News
Written By: Sean Bassinger, H&N Staff Reporter
The city of Klamath Falls is taking final steps to prepare a well-known property off Main Street and Esplanade Avenue for sale and development.
Klamath Falls City Council will vote Tuesday to allow for a $500,000 loan to put finishing touches on the now vacant “Balsiger property.” The money would come from the city’s escrow fund and go toward the Spring Street urban renewal fund. Current terms include a 10-year loan at a tax exempt borrowing rate of 3.44 percent.
Work outlined in city documents includes filling a basement from the already destroyed building and demolishing another garage on-site.
The site at 1305 Main St. first went up for sale following the demolition of the old Balsiger Ford building in 2016. The city was previously in talks with Portland-based developer Tokola Properties, though no deal has materialized.
With no deal, the city announced again that the land was up for sale in December 2018. Bids for new proposals were closed as of Jan. 10.
Planning Manager Joe Wall said that the city would again reopen bids after making the area “development ready.” City officials often describe the Main and Esplanade site as “a community gateway and vital entry point” to downtown.
Following approvals of the loan, city staff would then work with city council on the best way to attract developers.
Ideally, the area would house something similar to “The Esplanade” proposal. This includes apartments, office spaces and ground floor retailers.
But this has a host of its own challenges: Wall and others mention the continued shortage of rental properties, a county-wide difficulty that special task forces and others plan to address.
In most cases, real estate developers choose not to invest in new rental properties since finding comparable properties becomes difficult. Some of the last private rental properties were constructed as far back as the 1980s, according to previous reports.
The first Tokola Properties proposal outlined plans for a $12 million housing, office and business project, with Klamath Falls paying for at least $2 million. The city first had an exclusive negotiating agreement with Tokola in 2017.
“That has since expired, so we do not have any current agreement with a project developer in place,” Wall said.
Meanwhile, Wall describes plans as a “waiting game” as the city moves forward with additional talks on the site.
To read this article and others on the Herald and News website, please refer to the following link:
Balsiger Property Returns to City Council (H&N)