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Apartment project on the rise in Medford

A 400-unit apartment complex is under construction next to Northgate Marketplace
A new apartment complex is underway next to the Northgate Marketplace off North Central Avenue and McAndrews Road in Medford. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
The 400-unit complex is expected to start renting some units in fall 2023. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

A 400-unit apartment complex is under construction next to Northgate Marketplace, a project that will put a significant dent in Medford’s housing shortage.

“Our goal is to have the first units available this time next year,” said Blake Gesik, investment manager for Creations Northwest LLC.

The $70 million project is one of the largest apartment complexes in the history of Medford, offering one- and two-bedroom units with rents subject to market rates at the time the apartments become available.

“We’re excited to get it built,” Gesik said. “You’ll be seeing a couple of months of site work, but vertical construction won’t start until next year.”

Gesik said the construction’s goals are subject to change.

Applications from prospective renters will be available about 60 days before the units are ready. Creations Northwest hopes to have a website available for the project by the end of the year.

Located on a 14-acre property off McAndrews Road, the apartments will be adjacent to the shopping plaza that encompasses Dick’s Sporting Goods, HomeGoods, REI, Trader Joe’s and other retailers.

A pool and clubhouse will be part of the three-story walkups, roughly bounded by McAndrews Road, North Central Avenue and Court Street.

The first phase of the project will be built to the east of Cottage Street, which leads into the shopping center’s roundabout, with the second phase to the west of Cottage.

Most of the apartment complexes built by Creations Northwest are three stories.

“There will be several ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) units in the first phase,” Gesik said. They will be available on the first floor, while other units can be adapted to accommodate disabled residents.

Medford needs all types of housing, including low- and median-income units, and this is one of many complexes under construction or in the planning phase.

Gesik said the first-phase apartments will become available in chunks, and the second phase should be wrapped up in 2024.

Construction costs have skyrocketed, and Gesik said labor costs alone have surged 30% to 40% in the past few years, depending on the trade.

“Everything is expensive,” he said. “But labor is the biggest part.”

The daily workforce should be around 20, swelling to 100 when things get rolling. As many as 40 workers will be involved in framing alone.

Once the apartments are built, a team of four or five people will manage the apartments and provide maintenance.

The city has long hoped to attract an apartment complex next to Northgate Marketplace. The original proposal for the site was a project called Alba Village, but it never got off the ground. Instead the property changed hands and was used to create 80,900 square feet of stores such as Petco and Ulta in 2012.

One of the last really big apartment complexes, known as Charles Point in south Medford, has more than 500 units and was built more than a decade ago.

Matt Brinkley, Medford planning director, said a residential market study in 2018 concluded the city needed to add 172 multifamily units a year to keep pace with demand.

“We average 75 a year,” Brinkley said.

The destruction of 2,500 residential units in the 2020 Almeda Fire only added to the demand.

Adding 400 new units will go a long way toward meeting the city’s near-term goal to create more multifamily residential units.

“It is certainly one of the biggest since Charles Point,” Brinkley said.

Reach freelance writer Damian Mann at dmannnews@gmail.com.