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Extraordinary Development at the Oxford Commons

The Oxford Commons area is a booming part of Oxford these days, with residential and professional spaces being constructed on many levels and in different phases of development.

Oxford Commons developer David Blackburn
Oxford Commons developer David Blackburn

David Blackburn is the developer for most of the major project, with The Blackburn Group as the holding company and different companies underneath that umbrella. R.J. Allen and Associates is the commercial construction company, Blackburn Communities is the residential development company and then other entities fall beneath those companies. It’s a huge undertaking with a vital and positive outlook for the city.

The project’s official name is Oxford Commons and encompasses 500 acres that includes land being bought from local families in stages by the company, such as the Avent’s and added acreage to the south being sold to them by the Waller’s, which is in the county, but was just approved for the Heights, Phase III.

“Currently under construction is Phase I and Phase II, called Heights and Preserves, which are two different neighborhoods within Oxford Commons,” Blackburn said. “That consists of a total of about 77 homes. We opened the models in June and we’ve sold around 40 so far. We’re releasing Phase III of the Heights that will be an additional 45 lots soon. When completed, it’ll be about 800 homes over a 15 year period.”

Merchants and stuff Monday,Dec.8 063Blackburn added that people were actually living in some of the homes now.

“As a matter of fact, I live out there,” Blackburn said. “There are different homes to choose from, with a total of 15 floor plans. They range in size from about 1700 to 3500 square feet Price point is in the mid-$200,000 to the upper $400,000’s. Of course, if a person wants to make it even nicer they can.”

He said that in addition to the residential area, they were developing a professional office park across from Wendy’s that will be a total of 72,000 square feet.

“Right now we have three offices, two of them under construction, another one that’s about to go up for Freeland Martz Law Office. The two under construction will be for Hardy Reed Investment Management and Bill Turner Law Office,” Blackburn said.

Lots for many of the Commons neighborhoods have been sold, and 800 homes are expected within 15 years.
Lots for many of the Commons neighborhoods have been sold, and 800 homes are expected within 15 years.

Blackburn said Freeland Martz will be ready by April 1, Hardy Reed around May 1 and Bill Turner’s probably around Sept. 1.

Behind the professional park there is a large building being constructed. Right now they’re framing the second story of the facility which will be called The Blake.

“The Blake will be a large 100-bed assisted living facility,” Blackburn said. “I’m not the developer of that, but we are the contractors on it. We sold the land and a great group, Cardinal Ventures out of Jackson, is developing that property. They’ve done several of these down in Jackson and on the Gulf Coast. They’ve been very successful and they’re extremely nice people to deal with. The establishments are very high-quality assisted living care.”

Blackburn also said the second hotel owned by Chan Patel was now opened, Towne Place Suites and his group was also working on another area called The Summit.

Merchants and stuff Monday,Dec.8 056“It will be for larger retail development,” Blackburn said. “The master plan is about 350,000 square feet of retail space. It will be where the corner of Highway 30 and Highway 7 are located. We have 75 acres there that we’re developing for this.”

As for what type of retail will be moving in, Blackburn said they were making a lot of progress in filling the spaces, but it would be premature to give any names now.

“It’s coming along great,” he said, “so we’re really excited.”

Access in and out of The Oxford Commons area is vital and the roadwork on Highway 7 that is being done will help with that tremendously. It’s being done by the city of Oxford, who contributed monetarily to the access improvements, mainly due to the new Oxford High School, but Blackburn said his group was also helping to pay as well.

‘We’re paying over a 20 year period with special taxes,” he said. “The taxes are not on the residential, it’s the commercial area land that is paying for the majority of the roadwork over that 20 year period.”

Blackburn said the next phase of roadwork should begin in the summer.

Merchants and stuff Monday,Dec.8 058“The extension of Sisk all the way to Highway 6 is up next,” he said. “That’s supposed to break ground this summer and that’ll be a really big deal for this whole area, in terms of access for all the other developments going on there.”

Blackburn said the development explosion going on in Oxford now, in his opinion, was due to the uniqueness and educational facets of Oxford.

“Oxford is a special place, no doubt about that,” Blackburn said. “But other than that, college towns in general are doing really well across the country, especially the SEC towns. If you look at Tuscaloosa or Athens, Georgia – they’re booming as well. But I think Oxford has a better niche than any of the others, just because of the quality of life we’re able to offer here. I believe people want to move to areas that have the things a university can bring to the community, such as strong energy and a vibrant culture.”

Angela Rogalski is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at angela.rogalski@hottytoddy.com.

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