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New building proposed next to Mojo Rising

Lithia Way continues its transformation into a second Main Street as developer Bob Kendrick is proposing a mixed use project to be built on the old Harrison Parts Co. parking lot.

&

We are basically filling a gap along Lithia Way and creating a second Main Street,&

said Mark Knox of Urban Development Services, who is helping to plan this project. &

Instead of it becoming a bypass or an alternate route, [Lithia Way] it is proving to be just as valuable a streetscape as is Main Street.&

Kendrick, who also owns the former car parts store on East Main Street in front of the space and is partnering with the Ashland Community Land Trust to build a 10-unit affordable housing/mixed use project next door, will bring these plans for a 5,650-square-foot building to the Ashland Historic Commission on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Community Development Building on Winburn Way.

As is the trend in new Ashland construction, the building would comprise commercial space on the ground level and &

condominium apartments&

upstairs. The two residential units will be about 1,700 square feet apiece, and each would have two floors.

&

We are providing residents downtown who will be there to monitor it during the evening hours,&

Knox, a former planner with the city, said. &

These people will shop and dine and walk downtown and be less dependent on the automobile. Our engine, our economy is the downtown. This (development) supports the downtown rather than taking from it.&

Recently, the Ashland Planning Commission has been criticized for looking too favorably at projects in commercial zones that consist of mostly residential use.

At the last planning commission meeting, land-use planning activist Colin Swales said the disproportionate mix of commercial to residential development is being &

market driven&

and has an &

inflationary influence on the next project to come through.&

He said, &

residential should be the icing on the cake&

in a commercial district. But recently, projects have been &

all icing and just a few crumbs left on the ground.&

The planning commission agreed that they should discuss this issue at an upcoming study session.

— — A building is proposed for this site by the owners — of the old Harrison Parts Co. building.

This project, which is located in the downtown commercial district, is roughly 60 percent residential. In the downtown district, new developments are allowed 60 units per acre and 60 percent of the ground floor has to be in commercial use. This parcel is a half-acre. Interim planning director Bill Molnar said the project seemed to be in compliance in terms of its commercial to residential mix. Senior planner Maria Harris is in the process of writing the staff report for this project.

&

This is exactly how we should be growing,&

Knox said. &

We, as a community, should be proud that someone will pay a significant amount of money to live in our downtown. The market wants residential.&

Although this building will face Lithia Way, it is currently listed as being at 145 East Main Street because it is being built on land owned as a part of the Harrison Parts Co.

This section of Lithia Way has been one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Ashland as of late. In the last two years the Jasmine Building, two lots south of this project, and the building now occupied by Mojo Rising, one lot to the north, have been either built or entirely renovated. The city and Kendrick have plans to develop the lot between this one and the Jasmine Building into a 10-unit affordable housing project with commercial space on the first floor and parking below ground. Across the street, owners of the old Copeland Lumber building said they will introduce new plans for this large underdeveloped space within the coming months.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 x 226 or bplain@dailytidings.com.