Published by The Blade on Sat, 04/03/2021
By: Kate Snyder
As part of Oregon’s plan to establish a town center, a project to build a 200-unit apartment complex on Pickle Road is headed to design review with hopes for opening to tenants in about a year.
“We’re simply in the planning stages,” said Jim Gilmore, Oregon building and zoning commissioner.
The Architectural Design Review Committee is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Oregon council chambers to review the exterior rendering of the Oregon Town Center apartments. The meeting will also be broadcast on Zoom.
The project will be part of Oregon’s plan to develop its own town center, Mr. Gilmore said. In 2019, the city purchased the former Kmart site on Navarre Avenue as a significant step toward a downtown. Officials have said a downtown development would include walkable areas, bike paths, retail, restaurants, and housing, among other amenities.
“That southern part is where the apartments will be,” Mr. Gilmore said. “We’re pretty excited about it.”
Nathan Waggner, civil engineer for Cash Waggner and Associates, P.C., the developer, said it’s common and popular for downtown areas to have suitable housing options. People want to be close to shopping areas, work, and walking or biking spaces, he said.
The Oregon Town Center apartments at 2965 Pickle are slated to be two-bedroom units with solid wood cabinets, granite countertops, and washer/dryer hookups as well as common laundry areas, said Mr. Waggner, who estimated the project’s cost at $15 million.
“I think we’ll be breaking ground on the apartment side itself probably in the fall,” with occupancy possible by spring, Mr. Waggner said.
Michael Beazley, Oregon city administrator, said because Oregon evolved from a township, it never really had a traditional town center the way communities like Sylvania or Whitehouse do.
“Those areas are thriving,” he said.
While Oregon has amenities, Mr. Beazley said there aren’t enough quality apartments or villas, which is often what people are looking for in municipalities. Although acquiring the old Kmart site was central to the city’s plan, the city has also bought additional land and Mr. Beazley said officials are looking to develop about 60 acres.
“We’re taking some of the first steps this year,” he said.
The priority is to make an attractive space for current Oregon residents as well as the next generation, Mr. Beazley said.
“We’re excited about it,” he said. “We think the community’s excited about it.”