By JACK WEATHERLY
Oxford is growing. In many cases, that means sprawl, anathema for city planners.
But for this college town (the University of Mississippi for you extraterrestrials) with its classic Southern architecture The Lamar will be an “extension” of the town square and all its history and amenities, said Kimberly Sharp, consultant for the developers.
“We don’t in any way want to compete with the [courthouse] square,” Sharp said.
The square “informs” the style of the 48-acre Lamar project, according to Sharp.
“‘We want to carry that beautiful history, that narrative architecturally into the development,” she said.
“That’s why we reached out to Mike Thompson,” the architect. “He was born and raised in New Orleans.” Among many projects in his expansive, 25-year portfolio are Lost Rabbit in Madison and The Township at Colony Park in Ridgeland.
The buildings on the square have been gentrified in recent decades but have kept their historical postbellum look after they and Lafayette County Courthouse were burned in 1864 during the Civil War.
The extension of that style — balconies, green spaces and connecting sidewalks – promotes a “walkable” atmosphere and leisurely pace.
The project will lie on the last, large plot of buildable land within a one-mile radius of the square, according to Mac Monteith, who is developing The Lamar with Todd Paine, another Oxford-based homebuilder.
The “town center” is to be built at the same time as the first residences, said Sharp.
Dirt was turned in April and some of the structures should be completed by the end of the year, Monteith said. There will be about 40 residences in the first phase, and 100 when the project is complete.
The first phase will include “mansion flats,” which appear to be large single-family structures, but which will have leaseable “flats,” or apartments, under the same roof.
That concept makes those structures attractive for investors, who can live atop the revenue-producing property in the large penthouse and rent out the first- and second-floor units, or use them for family members, Monteith said.
“It’s a very unique product and it’s never been in Mississippi before,” Sharp said.
The other two models are cottages and town homes, he said.
The mansion flats range from less than $200,000 to more than $300,000, the cottages $300,000 to $550,000 and the town homes $300,000 to $400,000, Monteith said. Eighteen of 100 lots will be available for custom homes.
The mansion flats have a total of 5,700 square feet, with two one-bedroom apartments on the first floor, two two-bedroom apartments on the second and a three-bedroom, three-bath penthouse.
The town center will also offer loft apartments.
“Our first six cottage lots sold immediately to the [Jackson-based] David Turner Cos.,” Sharp said.
Turner will do its own construction, and other builders will do the same, she said.
“We’ve got very, very strict architectural covenants,” Sharp said. Clay Short and John Welty are handling sales.
The land is north of the square and west of Lamar Boulevard, Monteith said. Lamar and Molly Barr and Chickasaw roads comprise its boundaries.
The project will include an “agrihood,” a community garden for raising vegetables and herbs for residents and for the needy.
After all, it is Southern by any other name.
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