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Commercial building booms in Talent

Five offices and a mixed-use structure are planned now that a five-year ban has ended

TALENT ' Commercial development will resume next year to accompany the growing number of houses that have sprung up after a five-year building moratorium ended last January.

Five medical-professional offices are scheduled for construction at 208 S. Pacific Highway, and a planned mixed-used commercial and residential structure will be the first new building in the downtown area in at least 10 years.

Fred Cox Construction of Ashland will begin work in late February on the offices. Cox plans to sell three of the buildings and retain two for lease.

I felt like Talent is coming on, said Cox. We have a lot of subdivisions happening. There's going to be a need for this professional-type building.

The one-story buildings will each have about 2,600 square feet. They'll be built in a craftsman style with brick and rock facades. Landscaping, lighting and parking will be included. Cox will complete the buildings' shells. Individual owners will finish the insides to their own specifications.

Cox said some have questioned the location on the highway next to property owned by the late Tig Dunham, renowned for his bombastic signs.

Cox built the award-winning Railroad Park Cottages at the south end of A Street in Ashland. Everyone said it was junk property. We went in and turned it into something, said Cox.

I think it's going to fly because (professionals) can get in them for less than if paying rent, said Cox. Down payments could be as low as &

36;36,000, he said.

Cox purchased the 1.5-acre site a year ago. Building should be finished around mid-summer.

Talent Insurance Agency owners Jennifer and Cameron Hanson will build on vacant land at 104 South I St. downtown. Planning commissioners gave approval for the project Thursday.

We wanted to relocate to gain a modern office. This opportunity just came up, said Jennifer Hanson. All spaces in the building will be wired for computer use.

Two apartments will be built upstairs, with two or three office spaces and an apartment downstairs. The insurance company will occupy one office. It is currently at 301 E. Wagner St.

The building will have a 3,360-square-foot ground floor. Upstairs apartments will be about 1,000 square feet each with large balconies. A 1,680-square-foot office space could serve one or two firms downstairs. The insurance company will occupy 840 square feet.

Architect Ray Kistler designed the exterior. Ashland designer Rick Vezie will handle floor plans. Steven Banks will build the structure.

Historical architectural features that are compatible with design standards for development in the old town area will be incorporated.

It's precisely the kind of building that is perfect for Talent, said Marla Cates, architectural review committee chair. (It) fulfills the desires of citizens who have been involved in downtown planning for the last several years.

Hanson hopes to break ground in late February and have the building finished by September.

Edward Jones Investment agent Ed Karlovich has spoken with Hanson about space in the building. He works out of his Ashland house.

Edward Jones started in a small town. Talent fits that profile, said Karlovich. I'm slated for Talent. It's just a matter of time before we open up.

Reach Ashland bureau reporter Tony Boom at 482-4651, or e-mail