CENTRAL POINT — After listening to city officials and residents discuss plans for downtown revitalization, one local developer hopes to create a needed focal point.

CENTRAL POINT — After listening to city officials and residents discuss plans for downtown revitalization, one local developer hopes to create a needed focal point.

A three-story mixed-use project near City Hall, dubbed "The Crossing at Center Point" will include a fitness center, office space and eight upscale apartments within eyeshot of city offices, the historic elementary school and the city library.

Under way at Third and Oak streets, the project got city approval in June and broke ground in recent weeks.

Project developer Tommy Malot, who owns Rostel's, said the project had been in the design phase for some time. After participating earlier this year in a community strategic planning process, Malot said he realized the project would bring some needed character to the business district near downtown.

"We're inside the (transit-oriented design) district and were trying to make it where people can actually live on site, work on site and be able to stay in the city instead of having to drive all around town," Malot said.

"During the goal-setting sessions, we were talking about how we can get people to come downtown and live and work there as well "¦ I just sat there and smiled because, by then, I knew this plan was coming to fruition."

Designed to mimic other historic structures near downtown, the project's first level will include a 6,000-square-foot commercial fitness center and a 2,800-square-foot space dedicated to high-end health equipment sales.

Owners for the fitness center declined to be named.

On the second level, commercial spaces ranging from 1,100 square feet to 1,450 square feet will be available in coming months.

The third floor will include eight residential apartments, to be accessed via a secure elevator, ranging from just over 1,000 to 1,350 square feet.

Community Development Director Tom Humphrey said the project was a good fit for the downtown and "indicative of the kind of projects the city hopes to attract."

Malot hoped the combination of residential and light commercial would increase activity around the sleepy downtown core but maintain a country setting.

"This will have the availability of being in a country setting — the reason people move to Central Point — but with a more metropolitan feel and livability," Malot said. "On the outside, we're trying to keep the building looking like an older structure with some of the characteristics of the downtown's older facades "¦ stair-stepped rooflines, balconies, storefront glass along with brick and exterior covering. It's going to be pretty slick."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.