Oxford developments follow Ole Miss-driven demand

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Aldermen are expected to approve proposals on Tuesday for three new residential complexes.
Oxford Planning Commission approved the developments, which will have 175 units, earlier this week.
Molly Barr Trails is designed as 72 units on 5.3 acres of land on the northwest side of Molly Barr Road. Near the airport and bordered by the Community Green affordable housing neighborhood, the site fronts streetside bike lanes and the rails-to-trails bike path that leads to the University of Mississippi.
“Because of the proximity to this corridor and the advantage it offers as an alternative transportation route, the applicant is installing bicycle racks adjacent to every building,” City Planner Tim Akers stated.
Developer Julian Allen also has requested a transit route change that would bring buses along Molly Barr.
A 96-unit development, Taylor Bend, was approved by the Planning Commission for a 7.36-acre site on the south and east side of Old Taylor Road. That property is adjacent to the city’s busiest bus route, and developers hope to encourage residents to use it by building a transit shelter.
Old Taylor Road is scheduled to have bike lanes added to its width in the near future. The Mississippi Department of Transportation also has promised roundabouts for both ends of Old Taylor’s interchange with four-lane Highway 6/278. No date has been confirmed for the construction.
A 1.75-acre complex was approved for land on the east side of County Road 101 (Old Highway 7) just north of the city limits. The development will consist of seven free-standing houses, each with a fireplace, a 10-foot-deep front porch and twin screened back porches.
After real estate demand lessened with the economic downturn, Oxford saw discounted prices and foreclosures on condos and apartments. Several straight years of increased enrollment at Ole Miss, however, have begun to raise demand for off-campus housing.
Lorinda Krhut, director of student housing and resident life at the university, said the record freshman class of 3,571 means only between 500 and 600 upperclassmen can live on campus.
“We have three new buildings that will open fall 2012 that will accommodate 865 students,” she said. “Depending on the financial stability of the country and the economy as well as our department, we will continue to build.”
errol.castens@journalinc.com