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Carisa Cegavske

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June 18, 2013
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Building owners to Roseburg: Let's make a deal

If the city of Roseburg buys an abandoned Rite Aid, the current owners will invest the money into remodeling their vacant Safeway across the street, the son of the owner said Monday.

“We would take the proceeds from that project and dump them right back into the Safeway,” said Peter Cedolini, whose father, Tony Cedolini of San Jose, and two uncles own both vacant buildings.

Peter Cedolini, a San Francisco resident, contacted The News-Review to restate his family’s interest in selling the 40,000-square-foot building to the city at less than half the price the Cedolinis are asking from private buyers.

The Downtown Roseburg Association has urged the city to buy the old Rite Aid and tear it down for a town plaza.

The Cedolini family has listed the building for $1.9 million, but offered to sell it the city last year for $925,425. Peter Cedolini said his family wants the city to prosper and that the offer still stands.

If the city buys Rite Aid, the family will expand the 22,000-square-foot Safeway and possibly attract another grocery store, he said.

“Those proceeds aren’t just going into a bank account. They’re going into the redevelopment of that parcel. We want that piece to be developed,” he said.

The Cedolinis’ offer was greeted with enthusiasm by the director of the Downtown Roseburg Association, but Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich said today he wants to hear more about other possible plaza locations before making a decision.

The city has hired a Portland architectural firm, Sera, to study where a plaza could be put. Sera has identified four potential places: the Rite Aid and Safeway lots, the waterfront between Oak and Washington avenues and a lot on Southeast Jackson Street that New Day Quality Grocery once occupied.

Community Development Director Brian Davis said Monday the city is awaiting Sera’s report, due in about a month. From a planner’s perspective, a plaza at the Rite Aid lot or on the waterfront could be great, he said.

Rich said he wants the city to make an independent decision rather than banking on promises from property owners.

“What I like to do is get all the facts,” Rich said. “I want to get the data and discuss it with the council and staff first.”

Downtown Roseburg Association Director Roxana Grant said the Rite Aid site has been the merchant group’s favored plaza site for several years. If the city chooses that site and the Cedolinis renovate the Safeway, the downtown’s appearance would dramatically improve, Grant said. She said she could envision either a grocery store or a group of stores in the old Safeway.

“I think it would be a phenomenal idea to redevelop that building,” she said. “That’s exciting. It’s definitely something that we would support and get behind because that is the heart of downtown, that site.”

The Cedolinis have owned both buildings for 36 years, since the Rite Aid was a Payless store and the Safeway a thriving grocery.

The Safeway closed seven years ago. Idaho-based Winter Ridge natural food stores announced plans to open a store in the building in 2012, but the owner backed out this spring, citing a combination of business and personal reasons. The old Rite Aid has been vacant for eight years.

The Cedolinis obtained permits in 2008 to renovate the Rite Aid building and demolish the Safeway.

Cedolini said the family has since concluded the Safeway can be saved, while the Rite Aid could be razed for a plaza.

The Safeway has the distinctive curved shape typical of 1960s-era Safeways that were patterned after San Francisco’s Marina Boulevard store. Cedolini said many “Marina-style” Safeways have been expanded and renovated in his city.

Backers of a study on building a health sciences college in Roseburg included a picture of a renovated Safeway in a presentation designed to gain public support for the idea.

Alex Campbell, director of The Partnership for Economic Development, one of the project’s sponsors, said it’s too early to commit to a site, but said he does not believe the health sciences college’s development will conflict with building a plaza at the Rite Aid site.

• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated Jun 18, 2013 12:19PM Published Jun 21, 2013 07:59AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.