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Mail Tribune / Drew Fleming

Wired apartments a precursor to sci-fi ?Smart House?

Central Point property developers Tommy Malot and Dave Freel have taken the high-tech road in their quest to attract quality tenants for their new 48-unit apartment project.

— Renters moving into the Central Point complex will be able to plug their computers into a dining room wall connection portal for high-speed Internet service. The first 16 two-bedroom, two-bath units should be completed and available next month and will rent for $635 a month.

Freel and Malot say their Sunrise Way Apartments project is the first of its kind for the Central Point/White City area.

We expect to attract a lot of professionals to this project, Freel said. And if we're going to do that, we have to provide the extra amenities.

(The Internet) is an additional perk we believe our tenants would appreciate, Malot said. And nobody else can provide that right now. We're the first.

Both said the Sunrise Way project will provide a test of the residential rental market and say they have been encouraged by the initial response from potential tenants.

Those tenants, Malot said, could include area businesses which regularly must find housing for visiting professionals working on short-term projects.

There is a definite shift in the market place right now, he said. What used to constitute the great American Dream has changed.

A precursor to the Smart House of science fiction lore, the Sunrise Way project could pave the way for a high-tech future project Malot and Freel are tentatively planning for the White City area.

With the rental market vacancy at less than 2 percent, Malot said, the free Internet service will give the project an advantage in the competition for good tenants.

We wanted to provide something that is better than what anybody else could, Freel said. And we wanted to be the first ones in Southern Oregon to have it.

Technical consultant Rick Cornelius helped the developers negotiate the Internet service with MCI subsidiary UUnet.

The service arrives via a T1 communications line, providing tenants with a continuous and fast Internet connection, Cornelius said.

Commercial Property Management agent Susan Sultz oversees the Sunrise Way Apartment account and said callers have inquired about the units specifically because of the advertised free Internet service.

I think it's going to be real popular, Sultz said. With a lot of families — even young families and single people — the Internet is where it's at.

Reach reporter at 776-4463, or e-mail

The construction of the first 16 Sunrise Way Apartments is nearly complete. The Central Point apartment complex, a project of local developers Tommy Malot and Dave Freel, will offer free high-speed Internet access, a feature which Malot and Freel believe will give them a competitive edge.