This is a rendition of the three-story, 20,242-square-foot building People's Bank of Commerce and Medical Eye Center are collaborating on that will be constructed near the recently completed Medical Eye Center building on the northeast corner of East Barnett Road and Highland Drive.

Building on the Rogue Valley's future

Rogue Valley commercial construction is showing more signs of life.

MotorcycleUSA plans to build a two-story, 31,524-square-foot headquarters on the northwest corner of Grumman Drive and Status Way, not far from Lithia Motors' Dodge dealership along Crater Lake Highway in northeast Medford.

People's Bank of Commerce and Medical Eye Center are collaborating on a three-story, 20,242-square-foot building near the recently completed Medical Eye Center building on the northeast corner of East Barnett Road and Highland Drive, not far from the south Medford freeway interchange.

Both projects will go before the Medford Site Plan and Architectural Commission at noon on Friday.

The projects come on the heels of Lithia Motors' downtown Commons project as well as a variety of smaller retail and office projects in recent months.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to see a local technology company expanding as we struggle to break from the grips of the Great Recession," said Mark VonHolle, S&B James vice president and project manager for the MotorcycleUSA building, as well as president of the Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. board.

"It's exciting to see development in what's been underutilized land; it's a great thing for Medford."

MotorcycleUSA outgrew its office space on Sky Park Drive years ago and its headquarters now are on East McAndrews Road. Its executive offices, call center and product storage will be housed at the 4.46-acre site. The company has 111 employees, according to its application.

MotorcycleUSA executives were not available Monday.

"Their growth has been nothing but phenomenal," VonHolle said. "They are one of the most stable e-commerce companies in our area and e-commerce is something our community does very well."

David Thruston, an architect with S&B James, said the concept behind the eastward-facing building reflects on the motorcycle industry's past.

"It grows out of the old, keeping motorcycle heritage, and is moving into the future," Thruston said. "It harkens back to when motorcycles were most popular in the 1950s. A large portion of the building is masonry with traditional-sized windows. The center of the building is more contemporary with horizontal metal siding, a glass-and-steel canopy and flags."

Because of its proximity to the airport, the flagpoles were shortened.

"It has a lot of glass, it's inviting and warm and is meant to have a lot of daylight to promote interaction between staff members and departments," Thruston said.

Construction is expected to commence this fall.

People's Bank of Commerce's new headquarters and fourth branch office will occupy the first and third floors on a corner lot just west of the Medical Eye Center on Barnett.

The 13-year-old bank, headquartered on Biddle Road, has branched out to Central Point and Ashland in recent years.

Ken Trautman, People's Bank chief executive officer and president, said he anticipated a November 2012 move-in date.

"We're taking advantage of a sizable location and low cost," Trautman said. "It's the perfect time to buy and build in a down market."

Trautman said the bank leases its present Biddle Road headquarters, but is in a joint venture with Medical Eye Center on the project.

"Owning versus leasing will save us $2 million over a period of 20 years," Trautman said.

Administrative offices and residential lending will be on the third floor with teller services and commercial lending on the first floor.

Keith Casebolt, Medical Eye Center's chief executive officer, said the new building will be close to the same height as the two-story eye center.

"We had to start a little lower and there is less space between floors," he said.

Casebolt hopes to attract tenants in the medical field for the second floor.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email

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