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Developer eyes south Madras spot for commercial project that could include coffee shop

COURTESY 
PHOTO  - Ertle Development Partners is looking to finalize a purchase of south Madras property with plans to build a Starbucks and later additional commercial buildings. Access issues remain a point which could derail the project.

A free-standing Starbucks at the South Y in Madras is just a few check boxes away from becoming a reality.

"I'm waiting to get the purchase contract with the county finalized, which I hope to do this week," says developer Jake Ertle, of Ertle Development Partners.

If the project goes forward, Phase One includes a 2,000-square-foot Starbucks Coffee House with indoor and outdoor seating as well as drive-thru service. Starbucks estimates serving 150,000 customers a year at this location.

Ertle has a long-standing relationship with Starbucks. He says he has been eyeing the property at the Madras South Y for about 18 months.

"I definitely like the visibility it provides coming into town and the fact that it has frontage on both sides of 97 where it splits," says Ertle.

In late 2020, Jefferson County bought the property from the Oregon Department of Transportation to make sure development there would be attractive for the county and the city of Madras.

When the county put out a request for development proposals, they received only one application, Ertle's.

"I'm happy in the sense that something is going back into the private sector," says County Commissioner Kelly Simmelink. "It will clear up an area that's been vacant for going on seven years."

The county and Ertle are still negotiating price, the EDP proposal suggests a $210,000 purchase price, and other details, such as what to do with the existing building.

"Both the county and the city have been absolutely wonderful to work with," says Ertle. "As a developer, that's not always the case, in fact it's very rare. You've got a nice little community there."

One thing could blow the deal: Ertle must negotiate with ODOT for better access to the site.

"Current access is not going to work for me, and I don't believe it will work for any retail developer," says Ertle.

Accidents with cross traffic at K at Fourth streets caused ODOT to close off K Street. Ertle wants ODOT to reconfigure the intersection allowing left turn access from Fourth onto K Street, and left turn access from K Street onto Fourth.

Any deal he signs with the county hinges on gaining that access. "I cannot make the site work unless we have access to it," says Ertle.

COURTESY GRAPHICS
 - Ertel Development Partners developed the south Redmond Town Center that includes a Starbucks. The company, in the longer term, plans a similar project for the south Madras site. However, negotiations on access with ODOT will be a key element as to whether the developer moves forward on the project at all. Ertle lives in Arizona but grew up in Bend and has built several projects in Deschutes County. The most recognizable to Jefferson County residents may be the Redmond Town Center near the Redmond Lowe's, anchored by a Starbucks on one side and a Cold Stone Creamery on the other.

When and if Ertle checks all the boxes, he expects to open the Starbucks within 18 months. The project includes a Phase Two, about 3,375 square feet of retail space, targeting breweries, restaurants and health services like urgent care.

"We're very excited about the project and potentially a second phase there," says Ertle.


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