Housing Authority seeks OK for 48-unit apartment complex

The Housing Authority of Jackson County has proposed to build an $8.8 million, 48-unit apartment complex called Canterbury Hills on the site of a previously approved planned unit development in northeast Medford.

The housing authority intends to build one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, a 1,300-square-foot clubhouse, a basketball court and a playground on 4.25 acres on Arrowhead Drive at the western end of Dragon Tail Place.

"This is an average, typical-sized project for us these days," said Housing Authority Program Manager Jason Elzy, whose agency oversees more than 1,000 units county-wide, including a dozen complexes with more than 30 units.

The multiple-family housing development is one of two new construction projects the Medford Site Plan and Architectural Commission will review on Friday.

The site for Canterbury Hills was chosen for its proximity to the Owens Drive intersection now under construction across Crater Lake Highway from Costco, Elzy said.

"Its proximity to employment centers, retail shopping facilities and being somewhat close to the schools made it attractive."

The workforce housing will offer one-bedroom, 665-square-foot apartments; two-bedroom, 888-square-foot flats; two-bedroom, 948-square-foot townhouses; and three-bedroom, 1,182-square-foot units.

Elzy hopes to see ground broken by early spring 2011.

The Housing Authority is applying for low-income housing tax credits — IRS credits administered by the state of Oregon — to cover the anticipated $5.8 million construction cost.

The housing project will occupy a site approved in 2002 for Glen Hill Park PUD, a project that was officially terminated in June by the Planning Commission. The Housing Authority acquired the property from Glen Antle of Dallas, Texas, for $590,000 last December.

"Nothing ever happened," said Kelly Akin, a senior planner with the city of Medford. "They found some pretty severe topography and couldn't develop the townhouses that were going to be on the parcels," Akin said.

The property's topography was a concern for the Housing Authority, as well, as it designed units to be accessible in coompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Topography played a large part in the way we designed the site," Elzy said. "But we also used it to our advantage. There is a large slope on the north end of site, and it will be a landscaped buffer yard."

Another project the commission will consider Friday is the Oregon Ear Nose and Throat Center's proposal for a two-story, 17,678-square-foot office, which is about 100 yards away from its present location.

The 62-year-old firm has operated at 920 Royal Ave., since 1992. The new location, on the southeast corner of East McAndrews Road and Royal Avenue, will replace a 2,762-square-foot office built in 1990 on 0.69 of an acre owned by Providence Health System. The corner building was recently vacated by Providence Medical Group Medford Pediatrics, which moved to new quarters on the corner of Royal Avenue and Spring Street.

"A couple of years ago the Planning Commission partitioned the corner piece where the (former) pediatrician office is," Akin said. "They are going to demolish the existing building. The existing parking remains and they will also be able to use the parking structure."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.

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