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Developers expect to begin building the first of 5,000 homes in about three weeks

Curbs and lamps launch addition

With curbs and street lamps in place, construction on Medford's 5,000-home southeast plan has begun.

This is basically the start, said Mike Mahar, one of the developers of Summerfield at Southeast Park subdivision, which will eventually include 218 homes in the northern portion of the southeast plan.

Medford's southeast plan is designed to be a pedestrian-friendly community of about 10,000 residents on 1,000 acres east of North Phoenix Road, from the ridge above Cherry Lane south to Coal Mine Road.

The plan has been in the works for 13 years and was approved by the City Council in 1998. It includes a central 46-acre commercial area near the intersection of Barnett and North Phoenix roads.

It is gratifying and exciting to see this thing really start to come together, said city planning director Rob Scott. It'll be nice when we start seeing the homes go in.

Part of the plan includes 12-foot pedestrian-scale lighting to encourage residents to walk instead of drive within the 1,000-acre development. The lights are being placed between intersections to encourage walking in the region where 10,000 people are expected to live in the next 20 years.

Lou Mahar, Mike's brother who is also involved in the subdivision project, said that all the streets are in for the first phase.

It's probably three weeks out for being able to turn in building permits, said Lou Mahar, estimating that construction could begin in as soon as five weeks.

The first phase consists of 35 high-end homes expected to be priced around &

36;300,000 each, and Lou said there have been no delays so far.

It's just slow getting it through the city (permit process), but other than that, everything's going well, he said.

The next subdivision in line is Lou Mahar's Stonegate Estates with 203 homes and 96 condominiums near Coal Mine Road.

Scott said that development of the village center area is still several years out because the residential area needs to be in place to attract commercial businesses.

Developers say the southeast plan is exciting and innovative.

The key to having something like this work is to have the mixed-use areas and different housing types, said Mike Mahar.

The only thing missing from this picture in east Medford is asphalt and new homes. This development, a phase of Summerfield Estates off North Phoenix Road south of Hillcrest Road, is the first of the city?s ambitious 5,000-home southeast plan. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven