Empire Bid

A man walks Friday past a vacant lot on the corner of South Wasson Street and Michigan Avenue in the Empire District. The City of Coos Bay and the South Coast Development Council are gathering proposals to develop the lot.

COOS BAY -- The Coos Bay Urban Renewal Agency decided Tuesday that the city will be entering into an 18-month exclusive agreement with Tahoe Pacific Capital, LLC to design and build an apartment complex in Empire.

The development will be on city-owned property located on the northwest corner of S. Wasson Street and Michigan Avenue.

Tahoe Pacific plans to build up to 14 two-bedroom apartments on the plot of land. When finished its estimated that the cost of rent in for these apartments will be anywhere from $900 a month to $1,200 a month.

“I agree that there is a housing issue in this city, and in many cities, at many different income levels,” Tahoe Pacific owner Adam Rutherford said. “We have turned in a proposal to construct apartment homes."

Coos Bay specifically asked applicants looking to develop that property to purpose multi-family rentals as a means of combating our local housing shortage.

Tahoe Pacific’s current design has garages for tenant’s cars, but it was discussed that a design without garages could be considered, and that it would lower the cost of rent.

Rutherford emphasized that that the work for the project would be done using local architects and labor.

“I’m a big proponent of using local labor. I’m currently under construction on a home, and we used local contractors. We want to try and keep the money in the community,” Rutherford said.

Two applications were submitted and reviewed by the city. One was from Tahoe Pacific, and the other was from Oregon Coast Community Action.

ORCCA’s application did not meet all the requirements of the city’s application. The primary issue being that they did not have funding for their low income housing development up front.

“Our goal would be to build housing that is in the $750 per month or less rate for families,” ORCCA director Mike Lehman said. “We specifically targeted families because of the location. It’s next to schools and shopping areas out there. We’ve looked at the housing study and determined that you do not want to build large complexes of one type of housing in one area.”

When the application was submitted ORCCA had the support of Coos Health and Wellness, and Department of Human Services to develop transition programs for homeless families to move into those purposed apartments.

“We came to our decision because ORCCA admitted itself that it did not meet the minimum qualifications for a proposal,” Coos Bay City Councilor Lucinda Di Novo said.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.