COOS BAY — Some of downtown Coos Bay’s most recognizable buildings, including the Tioga, were purchased by Rob Crocker with the development company Opportas.
Crocker purchased properties which include The Tioga at 275 North Broadway, the Koski Building located next door to the Tioga, the Bugge Bank Building at 201 Central Avenue, and the Fletcher Building on the corner of Broadway and Anderson.
“Our intent is to fix up all these downtown buildings to a point where they are welcoming and a point of pride for the city,” Crocker said. “We want these buildings to welcome visitors, welcome consumers and tenants.”
Crocker is very interested in the history behind the buildings purchased.
“The story behind the Tioga is that in 1924 around 150 citizens from Marshfield came together and pooled their money to build the nicest hotel in the state,” Crocker said. “It was going to rival the Governor Hotel in Portland, but basically they ran out of money. Our intent is to bring it back to the original vision of the Marshfield citizens who lost their money."
According to Crocker the Tioga has been largely neglected over the last 20 years and he hopes to bring it back its former glory.
“We are absolutely going to change the face, the brand and the image of that building,” Crocker said.
At the Bugge Bank Building there are 10 apartment spaces being developed to accommodate students from the Oregon Health & Science University while they study in the Bay Area.
“We’re going to get these medical students living downtown. They’ll be there on Wednesdays when Farmers Markets are happening, and they can walk less than a block to get coffee or a nice meal.
Crocker grew up in Reedsport, and after starting some businesses and investing in real estate, he decided he wanted to focus on developing downtown areas in rural Oregon. He said Opportas, his development business, was started with building rural communities in mind.
“We hope this is the start of getting more apartments and nice living spaces down in that downtown core, so we can get more people with money to spend in our small businesses. It’s been a real struggle for some of the businesses downtown, because there’s not enough regular foot traffic and after-hours foot traffic. We’re really focusing on that."
Crocker has worked with partners at Opportas to renovate eight different buildings on Main Street in Oregon City among other projects.
Currently, we’re finishing up a building in Reedsport right on the main drag in Old Town Reedsport on Highway 38. We took a building built in 1925, the upstairs was completely vacant, and we’re making that into 10 apartments that should be done in May,” Crocker said.