Graduating seniors have experienced many changes in Oxford since their first year, including new dining options and residential areas.
“I think this graduating class has seen the most significant change in Oxford in years,” said Alan Kyger, Oxford director of economic development and executive director of the Oxford Community Improvement Corporation (OCIC).
Kyger said the past four years have been the period of the most redevelopment the area has seen in a while.
Some of the largest and most noticeable changes in Oxford have occurred in the uptown area around High Street.
“They’ve seen Oxford go from uptown occupancy rates of merchants from 70 to 80 percent to 90 percent today for commercial spaces,” Kyger said. “In the four years this senior class has been here, we have seen Bella Place built, as well as four or five new buildings built in the uptown area.”
Many seniors agreed that the new Chipotle uptown has been an exciting change.
“It was a fantasy my freshman year, and it finally became a reality,” senior Avery Spalding said. “I can leave Oxford happy knowing that Chipotle is here.”
Kyger said many of the new shopping and dining options available uptown including BTO Yogurt, Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop, Wild Bistro and Sushi Nara.
However, seniors have also seen the closing of several establishments. Spalding said the closing of bars such as Church Street and Balcony were negative changes in Oxford.
“It completely changed the night life of Oxford,” Spalding said.
In addition to the change in shopping and dining options, there have been many changes in housing around Oxford. Kyger said the construction of College Suites in 2007 changed the availability and quality of off-campus housing.
“College Suites was a significant factor in the availability of off-campus housing,” Kyger said. “Before College Suites was built, there were more people looking for off-campus (housing) than there was quality off-campus housing. Now it’s the other way around.”
According to Kyger, Oxford’s market for off-campus housing has essentially transitioned from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, and property companies have reacted accordingly.
Senior Kristen Hetland also cited the growth in housing around Oxford since her first year at Miami.
“It seems like new uptown residential buildings have just exploded,” Hetland said. “There’s the apartments by Smokin’ Ox, there’s some by Fiesta Charra and Stewart Square. There’s just been a whole lot of new construction these last four years.”
Overall, the development Oxford has seen in the past few years has been unprecedented, even compared other towns in Southern Ohio, Kyger said.
“Oxford currently has more building construction projects going on than a lot of other communities, especially in Ohio,” he said.
Kyger is optimistic the growth in Oxford will continue.
“There is a lot of new selection and there will be more selection in the future,” he said.
Despite whether or not seniors like or dislike the changes around Oxford, the overall attitude was that seniors will miss living here.
“I am going to miss Oxford a lot,” Spalding said. “Where else are you going to be a 15 minute walk to all your best friends?”
“I will absolutely miss Oxford,” she said. “Miami is an amazing place with amazing people and I will most definitely be back to visit.”