Highway 99 businesses return in Talent – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Peter Lunoak and Ian Bagshaw talk about upcoming cycling events throughout valley at Flywheel Bicycle Solutions, which is getting ready to reopen. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Peter Lunoak works on cleanup in the showroom of Flywheel Bicycle Solutions in Talent. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

The exterior of Flywheel Bicycle Solutions is being painted as the business gets ready to reopen. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

More commercial spots along Highway 99 in Talent are reopening or nearing completion of new buildings two years after the Almeda Fire gutted the business district.

Flywheel Bicycle Solutions expects to open later this fall. Jahnke Heating & Air Conditioning has returned to a new building, with a grand opening set for Oct. 8. Valley Plastic Surgery already has reopened.

Green Valley Pump’s office building is expected to be occupied near the end of the year. Star Body Works has construction underway, and Simple Machine winery opened its new facility in October last year, one of the first buildings reconstructed in the zone. Some buildings on the east side of the highway are outside city limits.

Flywheel, at 550 S. Pacific Highway, will open with a new owner. Founder Ian Bagshaw has sold the business to his manager, Pete Lunoak, but will retain ownership of the building and property. Bagshaw will continue in the business but transition away from mechanical work.

“We had been talking about it for a while. After the fire I was pretty devastated. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back,” said Bagshaw. “The thought of starting over was pretty daunting. If it wasn’t for Peter encouraging me, I probably would have sold the property.”

In rebuilding, the pair took advantage of a blank slate to rearrange the structure’s interior better for bicycle repairs and sales. It had been a hamburger joint and then a beauty college. It’s on the same footprint as the old building.

The business will continue to sell beer, wine and cider at an inside bar, a popular addition that attracted riders and food trucks. With the rebuild, the facility is better positioned to accommodate food trucks.

“I’m working on the building of cabinets, the work bench, the bases. Mostly we are just finishing the interior,” said Lunoak, who was manager for two and a half years before the fire.

“Having a blank slate really freed us to optimize the layout and make the work station really flow better. Also, we won’t have all the weird intersecting walls and the pillars,” said Lunoak.

Supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic are receding, said Lunoak. The market for bicycles also has softened a bit after heavy demand in the first year of the pandemic. He’s already got some bikes to sell, and more are coming.

Green Valley Pump’s new office building at 609 S. Pacific Highway is enclosed. Green Valley might have relocated after the fire, but the business owned the lots, said operations manager Leigh Johnson. Everything at the site was burned, including three buildings and three vehicles.

“The office space depends on the city and the county. The hope is by the end of the year, we will be in there and running,” said Johnson. The company started operations in Talent during the 1970s. The site is outside city limits.

A nearly $1 million cost estimate to rebuild the shop prevented reconstruction at this time. Green Valley operations were back on site three months after the fire. A trailer is used for an office, and large metal shipping containers have been configured for workshop and storage use.

Jahnke returns to Talent at 112 S. Pacific Highway after operating out of White City since the fire. A grand opening is set for Saturday, Oct. 8, and Southern Oregon Humane Society will offer pet adoptions during the event. A large new metal building replaces the structure that burned. The firm has been based in Talent since 1987.

A new structure attached to the front of an older metal building that survived the fire with damage in the back is under construction at the Star Body Works property at 1119 S. Pacific Highway in the south end of the business corridor. The property is outside city limits.

“The back part will be reskinned. We had to replace some of the red iron,” said JR Lamensdorf, a co-owner of the business. The office there previously burned totally. The front addition will serve as an office. Star Body moved all employees who had been working in Talent to other locations in Medford for both body shop and towing operations.

A paint booth is in the metal building, and the business aims to reopen the site by the end of the year. New blacktop and landscaping will be installed out front. Site fencing is partially completed and will be finished after work on the structures is done.

Valley Plastic Surgery, 280 S. Pacific Highway, is reopened after rebuilding. A manager was not available to discuss details.

Owners Clea Arthur and Brian Denner reopened Simple Machine winery and tasting room at 717 S. Pacific Highway in October last year after rebuilding. They used the 2,700-square-foot concrete pad from the original structure but reconfigured to better accommodate winemaking.

Land that was occupied by the Goodnight Inn motel at 210 N. Pacific Highway before the fire now has approval for commercial and residential development, although no work has started.

Also, Snap Fitness reopened in Talent Saturday, in a new building just off Highway 99, at 245 W. Valley View Road. A grand reopening of the new club was Friday, Sept. 30, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Talent lost 61 commercial structures to the fire. So far, 10 permits have been issued for reconstruction on those sites, Community Development Director Kristen Maze reported.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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