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Community to help define Mini-Mart's future

Brokerage team asks Columbia City residents, former customers for input


by: MARK MILLER - The Mini-Mart Grocery and Gas property in north Columbia City. A Springfield real estate broker is conducting a public survey to help come up with recommendations for how the Mini-Mart, which has been closed for about two years, should be redeveloped.A marketing firm is asking “members of the Columbia City community” to weigh in on what they think should be done with the derelict Mini-Mart Grocery and Gas property at the corner of A Street and Highway 30.

Petroleum Realty Advisors Inc., a Springfield-based real estate and business services company that specializes in gas stations, is circulating a factsheet and questionnaire about the property, with the assistance of the Columbia City administration and Columbia City Sports and Recreation Club, from which paper surveys are available.

“The Mini-Mart Grocery and Gas property is the only commercial development along Highway 30 in the city, yet it historically has not met with operational success,” the preface to the survey begins. “After being closed for nearly two years, the property has been purchased by an investor out of foreclosure and is about to be put on the market for sale. We are marketing the property for the investor and, as part of that service, are wrestling with what should be done with the property to maximize its chances of success moving forward.”

The document continues, “We are at an important point in time where input from the community will be invaluable. If we can guide the property usage in the direction that the community most supports, it will be a win-win for everyone involved.”

by: MARK MILLER - A derelict gasoline pump at the Mini-Mart Grocery and Gas, which went out of business in 2012, in north Columbia City. The property is the only developed commercial land along Highway 30 in the community.Christopher Jensen of Petroleum Realty said he has already concluded that the gas station component of the property should not just remain but be expanded, and that the building should host both a convenience store and food service.

“There’s a couple reasons why the property has not met with the greatest of success since it was built in 2000,” Jensen said. The fuel storage tank is too small and the interior layout of the building is “dysfunctional,” he continued. He said the previous owner’s declining health may have also contributed to the Mini-Mart’s closure in 2012.

“The fuel storage problem can be solved. It’s economically feasible to solve that,” said Jensen. “And then the interior of the building, What do we do with that?”

The questionnaire itself is one page long and asks what types of food service community members would like to see and what items they would like to purchase at the property, as well as how often they patronized the gas station and convenience store before Mini-Mart Grocery and Gas closed.

People who turn in their completed surveys will be entered into a $100 drawing to be held June 30, City Administrator Leahnette Rivers said Friday, May 23.

This is the first time Petroleum Realty has sought community input to such an extent in looking at how a property could be redeveloped, Jensen said, adding, “This is absolutely a case where it needs to be done.”

Because the Mini-Mart is the only developed commercial property along Highway 30 in Columbia City, it is crucial to ensure the property meets community members’ needs, Jensen explained.

The property was purchased by Rincon Real Estate Group in San Clemente, California, earlier this year, Jensen said. Rincon reached out to Jensen, who is working with Bend broker Dan Kemp to evaluate the property.