Lauren Karch

Construction of the new apartment complex at Main and High streets is expected to be completed by fall 2009.

The construction of uptown’s new commercial and residential property on the corner of Main and High streets is now well under way, with an expected completion date prior to the start of the 2009 school year.

The building at 1 W. High St. has undergone a number of zoning issues since a fire damaged the former Wendy’s restaurant in 2005. Since the restaurant franchise moved to College Corner Pike, Main and High Development LLC has worked on rebuilding or replacing the damaged building.

“It sat burned out for about two and a half years,” said Oxford Economic Development Director Alan Kyger. “That was not popular among the citizenry here, but the owners needed to know how to reuse the property before tearing down the old building.”

Zoning regulations prevented dividing the property to include both residential and commercial property, according to an e-mail from Matt Rodbro, president of Red Brick Property Management and manager of the property.

“At some point, the city put a moratorium on lots split (and) there was some legal differences between the city and the owners of the property,” Kyger said. “Those differences have been pretty well settled.”

In part of an ongoing lawsuit with the city, zoning rules changed and the construction of a combined-use building was approved.

“We couldn’t make a decision on whether to rebuild it or replace it,” said Main and High Development President Bernard Rumpke of the commercial building. “The lawsuit is still ongoing, but since they changed the rules we decided to build the new building.”

According to Rumpke, the new building will contain commercial space below 11 residential units.

“Chipotle has signed a lease, we know they will be the front tenant facing High Street,” Rumpke said. “We’re working with a shoes and outdoors wear retailer as an option to fill the space facing Main Street.”

The residential units range from four- to eight-person apartments and, according to Rodbro, will include high-end features such as a private health club, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and outdoor seating areas. Nearly all the apartments are currently leased for next year, according to Rodbro. One group of student tenants recently dropped their lease due to an abroad program conflict, leaving the last four-bedroom apartment available.

Rumpke stresses that the apartments have a “great location” and Kyger said the city supports the function and appearance of the newly designed property.

“It’s going to be a nice addition to the town; things are moving forward,” he said.