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CURRENT PROJECTS

Business Center Remodel and Expansion

 

The original Coos County Incubator Project idea started early in 1993.  EDA paid for a feasibility study that concluded a way to create start-up entrepreneurial opportunities within Coos County would be to construct a business incubator facility comprised of 20,000 plus square feet and designed for easy future expansion.  The primary purpose of the structure would be light manufacturing or processing, with office space incorporated into the overall structure to meet secondary needs.  The design provided for low maintenance, adequate parking, separate tenant metering and a provision for anticipated future tenant needs.  A former BLM warehouse was purchased and between 1994 and 1996, grants were received from the Rural Economic and Community Development Service and USDA Forest Service for the remodeling project.  Support also came from the Coos Curry Douglas Regional Strategies Board, Coos County, the State of Oregon and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. 

The goal for the incubator was to keep rent low enough to give the tenants a chance to accomplish their business plans.  The original incubator was operated and managed by Coos County with title to the City of North Bend to take advantage of the property tax waiver. The building is located on City of North Bend airport property and was owned by the City of North Bend until 2005 when the airport established itself as a Special District and the property was deeded to the new Coos County Airport District.  

The operation and management of the Center was transferred to the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay through an intergovernmental agreement in February 2000, since the Port temporarily managed the airport prior to it becoming a Special District.  The Port continues to manage the Center today in partnership with Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Business Development Center (BDC) and the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport. 

The building was initially remodeled to create six (approximately 1,300 sq. ft. each) front bays with a 12 ft. roll-up door alongside an entrance door for each bay.  Two larger back bays are approximately 4,500 sq. ft. each - one providing a 12 ft. roll-up door alongside an entrance door.  The other bay is accessible from an interior hallway with two entrances. An elevator shaft was created for future expansion to the second floor. 

Amenities for the clients include eight small offices that provide office space for the BDC, CCD Business Development Corporation, Government Contract Assistance Program, as well as other supporting small business services that include a computer lab, copier, fax and mail services, a training/conference room, administration and reception area, break room with kitchenette and restrooms.   The businesses are encouraged to stay for up to three years with ‘graduation’ and expansion into the community after that.   

The facility has been a success by providing professional business, management and technical assistance to small and entrepreneurial businesses.  It provides them the opportunity to take advantage of a one-stop facility that provides everything a new business needs to grow and be successful.  Approximately 500 jobs have been created since its inception and over 55 businesses have graduated and expanded into our region and beyond. 

A waiting list was established for new businesses that want to locate here.  There is a definite need in our area for these smaller bays as evidence by an ongoing waiting list. 

The first architectural plans were drawn up in 1996.  When the Port of Coos Bay took over management in February 2000, some remodeling was completed to improve the conference room and reception area.  During fiscal year 05/06 the elements of remodeling plans were discussed into a Phase One – Lower Floor Remodel and Phase Two – Upper Floor Remodel.   At that time, design-level plan drawings were drawn as well as cost estimates for each of the two projects. 

With a $10,000 grant received June 2008 from the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Program, Port staff was able to update plans with new estimated costs.  If funding can be found, we are hoping to begin construction in 2011. 

The elements of the Phase One remodel include the completion and paving of the south side driveway and existing east side gravel area, the division of one large bay into two smaller bays with roll-up door, electrical sub-panel and electrical meter, the division of the other large bay into three smaller bays each with roll-up door and main door, electrical sub-panel and electrical meter, new lighting and heating systems, as well as landscaping and new restroom facilities.   

Phase Two includes remodeling the upper floor to add windows and include individual office spaces.  This portion also includes an upgraded interior stairway and new elevator along with electrical and phone connections. 

During fiscal year 06/07 Port staff began pursuing funding for the project.  The construction project was budgeted in fiscal year's 2008/2009 and again in 2009/2010.  It is now time to get current cost estimates for the project so that we can actively pursue funding for the construction.  Port staff has contracted with a local architect for updated plans and design.  The architect firm will publicly advertise the project for bid and provide oversight of the construction.  Port senior management staff will provide support as well.    

Port staff has applied for additional support funding from the Coquille Economic Development Corporation, CCD’s Regional Investment Board, Oregon Economic and Community Development Special Public Works Fund, the College and various foundations.  Additionally, staff has asked for a federal appropriation for funding support.  The Port of Coos Bay will provide matching funding.  The Business Center’s current revenues are slightly higher than their expenses.  With the completion of the remodel the income generated by the additional bays will provide the Center with a level of debt service commitment. 

The new bays will provide the opportunity to place five businesses currently on the waiting list.  Typically two jobs per bay are created with additional employees as the businesses grow and expand.   

This project is listed as the number one project for the State of Oregon’s Infrastructure Inventory program.  The CCD Regional Investment Board and State of Oregon uses these successful created and saved jobs with their future budget funding planning.

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