The developer of a new apartment building that’s going up on Jefferson Street hopes to have the project ready for tenants in July.
Jefferson Crossing will have 61 units in a three-story building, developer Brett Riemen told the Observer this week.
The Village of Oregon has contributed to the project in hopes of sparking economic development downtown, using taxpayer financing and swapping land to make the project easier to develop. McFarland-based Spanrie Property Group – Riemen and partner Brian Spanos – purchased and tore down several houses and an auto repair shop on six parcels to put the project together, and it began building the facility in May.
The project got off to a slow start because of a rainy spring, “but we’re pretty much back on track for a July opening,” Riemen said.
“It’s kind of nice to see the lumber go up finally, after all of the underground work that was going on for a couple months,” he said.
That work involved getting the forms set for the foundation around it and then building underground parking below the first floor.
Riemen said the building will be taller than others downtown, but won’t appear much taller than the building at the corner of Jefferson Street and South Main Street.
The developers decided to elevate the building two feet to accommodate a high groundwater table and also to provide privacy for future first-floor residents.
“We have all those walk-out units on Jefferson and wanted to give tenants a little more privacy,” he explained. “So going up a two feet allows them to get off the sidewalk a little bit. That way people walking by don’t look directly into their windows.”
The village is contributing almost $1 million toward the project, including $800,000 in the form of a pay-as-you-go tax-increment financing obligation, with 5 percent interest. That means the amount the property taxes increase after the building is erected will be diverted to a district, which will then return all the taxes paid – including those to other jurisdictions – to the developer until the pledge is paid off.
The village will also pay for burying utility lines and rebuilding the Jefferson Street parking lot, two items the developer will arrange to have done and then seek repayment.
The developer told the Observer a “key piece” was trying to maximize parking in the area and “make sure that we don’t take away any of the parking for the downtown businesses.”
“We’re redoing the Jefferson lot to maintain the number of stalls that the village has there, and then also adding some for our residents, as well,” he said.
The parking lot is under construction, and village public works director Jeff Rau said they’re continuing to work with utility companies and the developer “in the reconstruction of the parking lot and moving the utilities in this area underground.”
“The contractor has worked well with the village in coordinating the utility connections and routing,” Rau said.
The building will offer three apartment sizes: studio apartments, which will have a bedroom but will be smaller than a typical one-bedroom apartment; one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments.
Studio apartments will rent for $850 per month, one-bedrooms for $1,050, and two-bedrooms for around $1,300, Riemen said.
He noted the building will have amenities such as a large fitness center and a community room with a kitchen. The community room is designed for social gatherings and will lead to an outdoor patio area with a gazebo.
Riemen said he’s had a lot of interest already from potential tenants.
“We’ve got 15 people or so who wanted to be on our list and be informed about our progress,” he said. “So there’s good interest in this.”