SHEDG purchases property next door to chamber

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

The Sweet Home Economic Development Group (SHEDG) has purchased a piece of property at 1525 Main St., directly next door to the Chamber of Commerce offices, with plans to create a downtown “hub” that would provide an anchor for local commerce and tourism.

The papers to complete the sale were signed Wednesday, Nov. 26.

The purchase was arranged by Bill and Robbie Nyara, local real estate agents who also sit on the Steering Committee for the Sweet Home Area Revitalization Effort (SHARE) group, which is working to develop plans and take action to improve the city’s retail districts.

SHEDG purchased the home and the .13-acre property it sits on, across the street from Safeway and next to Speedee Mart, for $89,144 cash. The Nyaras donated their services to bring the sale to a close, so there was no commission involved.

Bill Nyara said that his wife had spent “a couple of days” recently, looking over the investment and commercial property available for sale in the downtown area.

“When we looked at all of those, it became clear that that was the best available property,” Nyara said. “I think it had been in the back of some people’s minds before Robbie and I got excited about it.”

The Nyaras arranged for City Manager Craig Martin, who is a SHEDG board member, and chamber President Dave Furtwangler to take a look at the property, which backs up to the school district-owned parking lot across from the high school.

“We looked at an aerial photo and saw the high school parking lot right behind it,” Nyara said. The other driving factor in the deal, he said, was that the price had dropped by $10,000.

“That got our attention,” Nyara said.

Chamber President Dave Furtwangler said he sees the property acquisition as “a great opportunity for a good partnership with SHEDG and the chamber. There’s just a lot of good potential that we’re excited about.”

SHEDG Chairman Ron Moore could not be reached for comment, but he has spoken frequently in downtown planning meetings of the need for a “hub” building that could be a retail and focal point for the downtown area.

This particular location could allow recreational vehicle parking if a cooperative arrangement could be worked out with the school district. During the summer months, RVs and other large vehicles could pull through from Long Street and park, then exit onto Main from the area now occupied by the chamber office and the new property.

A multi-story building on the site could house chamber and SHEDG offices, including the Oregon Jamboree, along with other businesses that could draw tourists and local residents to the downtown core, Moore and others have suggested.

Furtwangler cautioned that there are “a lot of hurdles” to negotiate before anything can be built at the site, but he said he thought the purchase was a “smart move.”

“I think that property offers a real unique location in Sweet Home, where we could provide a lot of things we need in terms of a centerpiece type of development,” Furtwangler said.

“It’s the centerpiece of what we’re trying to do in Sweet Home. I’m pretty excited about it.”