Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Oxford Real Estate Opportunities: If You Want It, We Have It


Jon Maynard is president and CEO of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Foundation. I visited with Jon recently to get a better understanding of Oxford’s projected growth path.

HottyToddy.com: Is Oxford truly an industrial destination?

Jon Maynard 2014 copyJon Maynard: Internationally recognized corporations Winchester and Caterpillar have found a home in Oxford, so I would definitely say yes. In addition, we have several locally grown industries such as McGregor Steel and North Mississippi Conveyor Company. All in all, our industrial presence in Lafayette County is significant, however having been predominantly a University town, our local industry tends to get overshadowed.

HottyToddy.com: Where does entrepreneurship and start-ups rank among our priorities?

Jon Maynard: Having a University in our community, particularly a research university, we have the golden opportunity of new technology and skills being developed on a daily basis. As a community we need to develop the appropriate ecosystem to allow new technology to flourish in the private sector. Companies that wish to establish their future around a particular new concept, device, technology or compound can work with the University of Mississippi from just about anywhere in the world. Our job is to foster their need and ability to locate in Oxford and grow accordingly. So, I would say that entrepreneurship is a very high priority. It allows us to grow Oxford without changing the charm and culture of our great town.

HottyToddy.com: What do you see as future commercial growth?

Jon Maynard: Commercial growth in Oxford is only limited by our demographics and physical infrastructure. We have demonstrated that Oxford is a regional destination for shopping and professional services. This reputation will guide development of commercial space all over the Oxford area. We are seeing significant developments in Oxford Commons, Jackson Avenue and South Lamar. I predict that we are only seeing the beginning of a commercial development boom.

HottyToddy.com: What does the city need to do to stay ahead of the growth curve?

Jon Maynard: It is very difficult to get ahead of the growth curve that Oxford is experiencing today. There is the very real chance that our city and county can get consumed by the growth, and the result will be catastrophic for the area. Oxford has a reputation for charm, beauty and sophisticated Southern culture. Our growth is predicated on that reputation. If we don’t get ahead of the growth with detailed planning and design requirements then we have a risk of hiving our future determined by someone from outside of our community. The City, County and University all need to work together to develop appropriate infrastructure, realistic growth plans and a positive business climate for success. There is a unique balance between the development of a positive business environment and being overly protective of our community. I believe that Oxford and Lafayette County have been very successful in finding that balance as shown by the positive business growth in our community over the past two decades.

HottyToddy.com: Over the past five years what was our biggest success story? Over the next five years, what do you predict will be our next huge success?

Jon Maynard: Oxford, Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi ARE a success story. Our positive and sustained growth is our biggest success over the last five years and we are poised for even more success all the way to the foreseeable horizon. Winchester is definitely a huge success story for industry in our community. This is a manufacturing company that is finding tremendous success in North Mississippi, and I’m certain that they still have more room to grow. FNC is a huge story about technology growth and entrepreneurship grown from the University. Oxford Commons is a demonstration of success in residential and commercial development. Oxford High School is a magnificent demonstration of success in education. Baptist Memorial Hospital’s investment in a new facility demonstrates success in our capacity for medical services. The development of new athletic and research facilities at Ole Miss demonstrates huge successes in the growth of our largest employer and economic engine. It’s very hard to focus on a single accomplishment in our community when we have so much to call OUR success stories.

HottyToddy.com: Has residential growth max’d out or is there still a great deal more on the horizon?

Jon Maynard: As soon as you say that residential growth has maxed out, you’ll find that another large development is about to break ground proving that you are wrong. I don’t believe that we have max’d out our residential capacity. I do believe, however, that our infrastructure is falling behind the curve for the pace of residential development. Without the necessary roads and utility infrastructure along with appropriate safety codes, we risk creating unsafe and undesirable residential growth in our community.

HottyToddy.com: What is Oxford’s number one selling point?

Jon Maynard: Oxford’s number one selling point? That is like asking which diamond in the Queen’s crown do I like the most. We have so much to promote and for so many diverse tastes. Sports, music, dining, fitness, friendliness, intellectual stimulation, quality living, recreation, connectivity, weather…the list goes on and on. We can effectively promote ourselves to the tastes of just about everyone. I guess that is our number one selling point: If you want it, you can find it in OXFORD!

Steve-Vassallo-Photo-Oct-20131-150x150Steve Vassallo, CEcD/EDFP, is active in residential and commercial real estate with Premier Properties of Oxford. Steve is an Ole Miss alum and can be reached at sovassallo@gmail.com or (985) 852-7745.

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