Boulders are being unearthed and dirt is being excavated for a large-scale development in northwest Roseburg that came to a halt when the economy tanked.
“The economy is still squishy. There are no certainties, but we are at least confident to move forward with the scope of the project,” Basco Brothers co-owner Juan Yraguen said.
Crews began working in May on a 43-acre hillside west of Interstate 5 and behind Oregon Pacific Bank off Northwest Edenbower Boulevard.
Basco Brothers plans to build pads for commercial buildings and multi-family homes, a first for the Sutherlin company whose name pays tribute to the owners’ Basque heritage.
Yraguen, who owns the company with brothers Nick and Jaime, said the project will likely take several years to complete.
“Something of this scale, we are taking certain bites out at a time,” he said.
The development has been named “Boulders” because of the many large rocks excavating crews are encountering.
Yraguen said medical and financial services businesses have shown an interest in the commercial parcels, but nothing has been firmed up.
“I am certainly not going to declare it’s going to be a success, but I went into it with the anticipation of great things and having success with the development of that property,” he said. “If we didn’t think we would be successful, we would have never struck out on the endeavor of developing it.”
The project is taking shape five years later than expected. “We tabled it throughout the downturn of the recession,” Yraguen said.
With an improving economy and the acquisition of more acres, the company is cautiously forging ahead, he said.
Basco Brothers purchased two acres on the northeast side that the city of Roseburg had deemed surplus property after constructing the Stewart Parkway overpass on Interstate 5. The city gave the land back to the Oregon Department of Transportation, which sold it to Basco Brothers. Yraguen said the purchase was mutually beneficial because that land could not be accessed without crossing his property, and it is now on the tax rolls.
“We were waiting to see if we could get that property purchased and once we did, we knew we were back on the path of moving forward, and we wouldn’t look back,” Yraguen said.
Parcels on the east and west ends are zoned for commercial uses. Yraguen said the first step will be to build three commercial pads on two acres at the east end.
Construction so far has included rerouting utilities and flattening the hillside.
Yraguen said a five-man crew is doing massive excavation, focusing on the east-end commercial pads and constructing a retaining wall out of concrete block and dirt.
The dirt is being cut from higher up on the hill, which is creating openings to put in residential pads.
Squeezed in between the commercial sites is land zoned for multi-family residential use such as apartments or a retirement home. Immediate plans include 10 to 12 townhouses.
“This winter we will work on the house plans and ideas as to what types of homes we are going to build on the residential portion,” Yraguen said.
A Roseburg city planner, Teresa Clemons, said the city’s Vermillion Street near Oregon Pacific Bank may eventually be extended up the hill to allow for more homes and to access businesses.
She said plans might also include building roads to reach the property from other directions.
Basco Brothers started in 1947 as a logging company and later expanded into land development.
•You can reach reporter Christina George at 541-957-4202 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.