New hotel complex displaysconfidence in Mac downtown

New hotel complex displays
confidence in Mac downtown
Development in downtown McMinnville doesn't happen in a vacuum. Consider the proposed new hotel/restaurant/retail complex planned by former Western Oregon Waste CEO Bob Emrick.
The project could never have been envisioned without previous decades of investment by property owners, the city of McMinnville, the McMinnville Downtown Association and the hard work of business owners and volunteers.
Emrick's proposed 21,156-square-foot, three-story structure is planned for the corner of Northeast Third and Galloway streets, the former site of McMinnville Glass Shop. It features a restaurant and "wine village," rooftop patio seating and an 11-room hotel.
Without the progressive thinking of community leaders in the 1970s and 1980s, McMinnville's downtown very well could have died, the victim of box stores and malls at either end of town. With a vacancy rate of nearly 20 percent in the early '80s, it nearly did. However, the downtown association, formed in partnership with the city, property owners and volunteers, helped return the vitality of the city's core. Its charm has grown to be the envy of communities across the state and a draw for tourists and locals alike.
This project could boost downtown development in this decade just as the McMenamin brothers' Hotel Oregon did in the late 1990s. McMenamins' investment helped spur development in the rest of the 500 block, including Matt and Marilyn Worrix's beautiful renovation of the old Elks Building. The block now is filled with restaurants, wine bars, small shops and a gallery.
Other investment has leap-frogged down to the 700 and 800 blocks of Third Street, including the Housing Authority's residential and commercial complex east of the railroad tracks. Though that retail space has remained vacant for several years during depressed economic conditions, there are some signs of growth ahead. Steadily dropping unemployment rates paint a modestly promising picture, although no one is predicting a meteoric rise in prosperity.
We believe Emrick's confidence in McMinnville's downtown is justified. His commitment to invest in its future success is an encouraging sign that the entrepreneurial spirit that built our community lives on. The project will create jobs, welcome visitors and enhance the beauty of this special downtown district.
It was mid-1970s when trees, kiosks and underground utilities first replaced the bare streetscape of the 1950s and 1960s. In the ensuing 35 years, downtown has been an evolving success story that will continue long into the future.


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