A Roseburg car dealer has agreed to buy 4.7 acres from Douglas County for $1.25 million and move from its cramped downtown lot to spacious grounds in north Roseburg.
As an incentive to expand, the county will reward Roseburg Honda with $10,000 for each new job that pays at least $51,075 in wages and benefits.
“We want them to stay here and create good, stable jobs in the community,” Commissioner Susan Morgan said. “It’s an encouraging sign that they’re willing to buy the property, build a new building and hire more people.”
Roseburg Honda General Manager Dan Woodruff said Wednesday he looks forward to moving the dealership from 580 S.E. Oak Ave. to a parcel at the corner of Mulholland Drive and Stewart Parkway.
He said the company is working with the city to determine the requirements for developing the lot. He declined to detail the business’ plans until the sale is finalized.
The county’s attorney, Paul Meyer, said he expected the sale to be completed by the end of May.
For many years, the county leased the north Roseburg parcel for a nominal fee to Sunrise Enterprises, which employs developmentally disabled workers at a wood-products plant, recycling center and janitorial service.
Sunrise Enterprises moved in 2009 after the county contributed $1.2 million to help the nonprofit organization buy a site in Green formerly occupied by a Roseburg Forest Products mill.
The county hoped to make a profit and listed the north Roseburg property for $1.5 million.
The county began negotiating in June with Dash Enterprises, the dealership’s corporate parent, which initially offered $1.1 million. The county lowered the price to $1.25 million, which the company eventually accepted. That’s slightly more than the $1.2 million listed as the real market value for the property by the Douglas County Assessor’s Office.
“Commercial property isn’t moving anywhere, especially in Douglas County, so it was nice to be able to sell this property this quickly,” the county’s land manager, Gary Groth, said.
The county has capped at $150,000 the amount the business can receive in job-creating incentives. Besides meeting minimum pay requirements, the jobs must last at least five years.
Roseburg Honda has operated for nearly two years on Oak Avenue. Horizon Honda-Mazda, which has no connection to the current dealership, formerly operated at the same location. That business folded after owner Dave Gilbert defrauded a bank and credit union out of more than $3 million through a check-kiting scheme and was sentenced last year to three years in prison.
The north Roseburg parcel will be more than three times larger than the dealership’s current location, which is hampered by a small showroom and parking lot. Southeast Stephens Street separates the car lot from the showroom and a repair shop.
The property is divided into three parcels, which were bought last summer by Roseburg businessman Rick Poland. He purchased the property for $650,000 from PremierWest Bank, which seized the property as Gilbert’s financial empire crumbled. The parcels are valued at $1.4 million by the assessor’s office.
Efforts to reach Poland for comment Wednesday and today were unsuccessful. His plans for the property have not been announced.