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  • Zoning change aids senior living project

  • Plans for a new senior living center at the southeast corner of Springbrook and East McAndrews roads are moving forward after the Medford City Council voted unanimously Thursday to rezone the lot.
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  • Plans for a new senior living center at the southeast corner of Springbrook and East McAndrews roads are moving forward after the Medford City Council voted unanimously Thursday to rezone the lot.
    The northern 5.28 acres of the 9-acre lot will be rezoned from low-density urban residential to service commercial, allowing for the center.
    Site plans for Bonaventure Senior Living, owned by Salem-based Wyndhaven Properties LLC, include 141 dwelling units and 91 parking spaces.
    The Medford Planning Commission unanimously approved the rezoning in May.
    "A small decrease in urban residential is not significant," said John Adam, senior planner for the Medford Planning Department.
    In 2005, Wyndhaven Properties bought the lot for $3.2 million.
    Bonaventure will purchase the property from Wyndhaven, but has not closed on the property. Bonaventure Project Manager Eric Rouse said there are many steps to go before the company is ready to break ground on the center, including the construction plan review.
    "If everything went fantastic, we could probably break ground in April or May of 2015," Rouse said.
    The project is estimated to cost $20 million to $25 million, Rouse said.
    Late last year, Bonaventure sold Arbor Place, an assisted-living community in east Medford, along with 11 other senior housing communities in Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Nevada for $302 million.
    If the firm does not follow through with building the planned facility, the lot could be used for health services, museums, government offices, certain retail businesses or anything else allowed under service commercial zoning, Adam said.
    Councilor Chris Corcoran said he is not concerned about Wyndhaven Properties not following through with the facility.
    "Researching the history of the organization, they're not known to go back on their word," Corcoran said. "It's an act of faith."
    Jay Harland of CSA Planning Ltd. of Medford, which represents Wyndhaven Properties LLC, was also confident the project would be built.
    "We're working full steam ahead with the designs and plans," Harland said.
    Harland said he does not yet know what will happen with the remaining 4 acres.
    During early stages of the project, CSA Planning held a neighborhood meeting to explain the plan and answer questions.
    Joan Middendorff, who attended the meeting, said the facility would be a great asset to her neighborhood.
    "When we received the notice about the facility, a number of our neighbors were pretty alarmed," Middendorff said. "The meeting relieved our fears."
    Rouse said one concern neighbors had was the impact the center would have on traffic. However, as only 64 percent of the residents will be independent, and typically only 25 percent of independent residents own a vehicle, Bonaventure's centers have a very low impact, he said.
    "We hardly generate any traffic, which is part of why there was such neighborhood support," Rouse said.
    Middendorff said there is a great need for assisted and retirement living, and she is glad another option will be available.
    "Some of my neighbors said they'll just move next door when they need to," Middendorff said.
    Bonaventure operates 21 senior housing communities in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Accord to its website, Bonaventure has four continuing care communities — providing regular retirement living quarters, assisted living and memory care — on the drawing board in each of the three states where it now operates.
    Reach Mail Tribune reporting intern Kelsey Thomas at 541-776-4368 or kthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @kelseyethomas.
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