About half as long as a football field, three hallways in a new four-story, low-income apartment building in downtown Medford give visitors some idea of the size of the new building.
The Concord, located along Grape and Sixth streets behind the Mail Tribune, is almost finished, and residents should start filling up the 50 apartments after Jan. 1.
"As far as applications are concerned, we've had tons," said Andrea Miranda, project manager for the Housing Authority of Jackson County.
The 50-foot-tall building that sits on more than a half-acre of land will have parking under the building, while the first floor will have a community room and activity room for children. The upper three floors contain one- and two-bedroom apartments.
The hallways on the upper three floors are 180 feet long, with sitting areas featuring lots of glass to catch the sunlight and views of downtown Medford and the surrounding hills.
Thirteen of the units are designed to house people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Five of the units are fully accessible for those in wheelchairs, including kitchens with plenty of open space to maneuver.
The units will provide homes for veterans, families needing a place to recover from addiction and elderly residents living on fixed incomes.
The apartments have small balconies and are outfitted with new appliances, laminate countertops and wide doorways to accommodate those with disabilities.
Each apartment has a window-mounted HVAC unit that supplies heating and cooling, though the building is designed to be energy-efficient. Every floor has a chute to make it easier to get rid of garbage and a room to do laundry.
In the past, the Housing Authority has brought in portable toilets as people lined up to apply for housing when new rental units opened. This time the Housing Authority held a lottery to avoid having people stand outside for hours. Still, hundreds applied for the 50 units.
"Throughout the construction, we've been getting calls," Miranda said.
With a rental vacancy rate of 2 percent countywide, the Housing Authority has more potential renters than it has space available. The Concord will help somewhat, but Miranda said, "It's just a drop in the bucket."
Rents are $430 for a one-bedroom apartment and $520 for a two-bedroom unit. The income limit to qualify for a single person is $18,700. For two people, it's $21,350, for three, $24,000, and for four, $26,650.
The Housing Authority estimates rents for similar apartments on the open market in Medford would be $750 and $950, respectively.
The $12.5 million project has drawn a lot of attention in downtown Medford, with the building dominating the neighborhood skyline. Previously the lot housed a Japanese restaurant and a public parking lot that was rarely full. Bonsai restaurant was demolished in October 2015, marking the beginning of work on the lot.
Adroit Construction Co. of Ashland is overseeing a small army of workers who are busy applying siding, laying asphalt and concrete, painting, installing cabinets and appliances and tackling a lot of big and small jobs. The project was designed by ORW Architecture of Medford, and money for the project came from tax credits, grants and loans from Oregon Housing and Community Services.
To keep the project on budget, some features were dropped, including a second elevator and a different type of siding on the building.
The Housing Authority obtained the Grape Street lot from the city of Medford as part of an agreement to limit the size of its Cherry Creek housing complex on Spring Street.
The Housing Authority reduced the size of the Spring Street complex from 100 to 50 units and transferred 2.5 acres of the 6-acre property to the city for parkland and a buffer between the complex and Spring Street. In exchange, the city agreed to swap the commercially zoned lot downtown.
— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.