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MailTribune.com
  • More homes, fewer stores

    If approved, the east Medford PUD will add 78 houses; drop 14 commercial pads and an assisted living center
  • A Vancouver, Wash., home builder is seeking to convert commercial lots in a planned unit development on East McAndrews Road to residential use, nearly tripling the number of houses originally planned for that section of Vista Pointe.
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  • A Vancouver, Wash., home builder is seeking to convert commercial lots in a planned unit development on East McAndrews Road to residential use, nearly tripling the number of houses originally planned for that section of Vista Pointe.
    Holt Homes, which is acquiring the 29-acre East McAndrews Village PUD from AmericanWest Bank, will ask the Medford Planning Commission on April 25 to reduce the commercial element to 14,000 square feet, while eliminating an assisted living center that was part of the original submission. If the request is approved, the development will have 119 residential lots, up from 41, and three commercial pads, down from 17.
    The Planning Department didn't see many major revisions or modifications to developments before to the recession, said Kelly Aiken, a city planner.
    "Six years ago we wouldn't have seen this, it was just unheard of," Aiken said. "Developers didn't revise stuff, it was pretty unusual. Recently, we've seen a lot of applications expire and seen a lot of things come back renewed and altered in some fashion."
    The triangular Vista Pointe property bounded by East McAndrews Road, Hillcrest Orchards and Lazy Creek is still largely unimproved, except for the curbs and gutters. The streets are mostly unpaved as well.
    Building has picked up to the north of East McAndrews in the past couple of years and the long-delayed Bella Vista Heights project is now sprouting houses, suggesting the time is ripe.
    Rian Tuttle, a project manager for Holt Homes, said the company builds up and down the West Coast, specializing in foreclosed developments, and began eyeing the PUD last summer.
    "The parcels are partially developed, but after the approval process we'll have a better idea about the time frame," Tuttle said. It's in escrow now, so we're in due diligence at this point."
    One potential sticking point is the city's desire to have Merlot Court joined to Hemlock Drive, where there is an existing neighborhood. That would require crossing Lazy Creek. At present, the only exit from Hemlock Drive connects to Tamarack Drive where it connects to McAndrews.
    "There needs to be relief for another access for emergency service vehicles," Aiken said. "Reduction in vehicle miles traveled and connectivity are important, too."
    The cost could undermine the feasibility of the development, Tuttle said.
    "A crossing of that size has a great impact on the project," he said. "The limited number of lots in the subdivision would have a hard time absorbing the cost of putting in a bridge."
    There are no plans yet for the remaining commercial area on the northwest tip of the property, Tuttle said.
    The property was turned over to PremierWest Bank by developer Cris Galpin in January 2012 as part of a settlement with the troubled bank. PremierWest Bank was acquired by a Spokane group and became part of AmericanWest Bank in a deal that closed earlier this week.
    Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.
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