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Manor swings for the future

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Rogue Valley Manor has teed up one of the biggest housing projects in Medford’s recent history around Centennial Golf Club, with a potential economic value approaching a half-billion dollars.

“There’s nothing like this in Medford,” said Brian McLemore, president and chief executive officer of Pacific Retirement Services, the parent company of the Manor, which owns the 18-hole course. “People often say, ‘Why doesn’t Medford become more like Bend?’ Well, here’s our opportunity.”

Bend, a popular tourist destination, features a number of golf-course communities, including the 3,300-acre Sunriver Resort.

The Manor, with a 668-acre campus and its familiar high rises on Barneburg Hill overlooking the valley, recently submitted applications to the city for at least 1,462 residential units around the existing greens next to North Phoenix Road in southeast Medford.

The Manor currently offers about 800 residential units and has 1,000 residents.

The biggest feature of the proposed project is a gated 55-plus community overlooking the golf course.

If approved, the project would begin the first phase at the north end, near Juanipero Way, and then work its way south. Other new roads would be built to provide access to the new subdivision. The proposal calls for annexing 417 acres into the city, with 221 acres set aside for residences, including 41 acres for high-density units.

Medford planners anticipate it could take about 18 months to get all the approvals, though McLemore hopes for a speedier timeline.

“We’d like to get this going soon,” McLemore said. “We’ve waited long enough.”

Centennial was completed in 2006, but the Manor had been working on plans for residences prior to that, designing the golf course to accommodate the future development.

The project is planned to include 448 single-family houses, 828 multifamily residences and 186 residential units in the commercial areas. Also in the works is workforce housing for employees of the Manor.

McLemore said the units would cost from the high $300,000s to low $600,000s.

The Manor wouldn’t build the project all at once, anticipating it would be completed in phases of about 100 housing units at a time.

Parts of the project include land already located inside city limits, including around the third, fourth, fifth and sixth greens just to the east of Interstate 5.

The housing would feature duplexes, condos and apartments, and the gated community is set up to be a potential stepping stone to the high rises on the hill for retirees looking to simplify their lifestyles as they grow older.

“We’re anticipating it will create a feeder for the Manor,” McLemore said.

The gated community would be crisscrossed with bike and pedestrian trails, and golfers would be able to traverse the new development from green to green.

A commercial strip has been planned along North Phoenix Road, and a future commercial area would be built at the south end next to a planned extension of South Stage Road. Seventy-six acres have been earmarked for commercial development.

A new clubhouse is also in the works, but the existing 120-acre public golf course would remain largely unchanged and be designated as open space. McLemore said there may be some minor adjustments to the greens to better fit in with the project.

Many of the lakes and water features on the course will remain.

Golf View Drive, if it’s extended, would curve between two lakes at the southern end and connect to Barnett Road to the north and to the future South Stage extension to the south.

The Manor hopes to attract a developer interested in building a hotel near the new clubhouse.

North Phoenix Road on the eastern edge of the course is also set for improvement in the future by the city of Medford.

Armed with a recently approved $15.5 million federal grant, the city, county and state will undertake a longterm $40 million plan to improve Foothill from Hillcrest to Coker Butte Road.

As part of the roadway improvement plan, the city is scheduled to build an extension of South Stage Road on the east side of the freeway. Longterm plans call for an overpass on I-5 for South Stage Road, which would ultimately connect into North Phoenix Road. The project, called a “mega corridor” by the city, is part of a plan to create an alternative to Interstate 5.

Medford and the city of Phoenix are looking at long-range plans to create an employment center just south of Centennial to attract corporations and other businesses, eventually filling in the area from Home Depot to the north.

The Manor’s proposal is a massive project by Medford standards. The city currently has 35,447 housing units within its borders.

“This is one of the largest projects we’ve received from a single developer in recent memory,” said Matt Brinkley, planning director for Medford.

Medford City Councilman Mike Zarosinski, who lives near the Manor, said the city recently went through an extensive process to expand its urban growth boundary to start bringing more land into the city.

“The whole point of expanding the UGB is to get this kind of investment,” he said.

In 2018, Oregon officials approved adding 4,046 acres to the city, pushing boundaries outward and paving the way for sizable tracts of houses around Centennial and southeast Medford. Of that acreage, 1,658 acres are set aside for residential and employment-related development. Another 1,877 acres are set aside for parks, and 511 acres is land that had been previously developed or land that is unbuildable.

The Centennial property represents about 25 percent of the total new acres set aside for development within the city.

Even though the properties were brought into the UGB, developers still have a lot of hoops to go through before they can start building.

The Centennial project will have to clear a number of planning hurdles. Location of streets, calculation of residential densities and transportation issues will all be looked at. The Medford Planning Commission and the city council will both vote on final approval of an urbanization plan.

Zarosinski said the Centennial proposal appears to be the kind of project that would help the city grow.

“That is extremely encouraging to see,” he said. “In general it’s always encouraging when people are interested in investing in the community.”

For more information for potential home buyers, call the Manor at 541-646-3441 or email slynch@retirement.org.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune The Manor has submitted applications to build residential units near Centennial Golf Course.