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Contributed photo by Cambridge Square / The landscape architect and designer Jason Brownlee in Franklin, Tennessee offers conceptual layout of new swimming pool and clubhouse planned in the residential portion of Cambridge Square in Ooltewah.

Like most master planned communities of its type, Cambridge Square was originally envisioned to start as a residential subdivision on the land that had served as a buffer between Ooltewah's commercial development and the 18-hole Honors Course in Ooltewah.

The commercial square was intended to come later as the population of the residential community grew.

But the housing slump a decade ago during the Great Recession put home building on pause and developers focused their initial attention on the commercial side of Cambridge Square.

By developing more than two dozen restaurants, stores and medical offices around a town square that hosts musical entertainment and other events most weekends, Cambridge Square has grown into one of the most popular suburban attractions for dining, shopping and entertainment in the region and created more appeal for the nearby homes the developers finally began building a few years ago.

"As it turns out, the downturn in the economy was the best thing that could ever have happened," said Barry Payne, the president of BP Construction and Barry Payne Homes, the master builder for the community's residential neighborhood. "If I had started building $250-a-square-foot houses without Cambridge next to them, I would have been laughed out of Ooltewah."

The 100-acre portion of Cambridge Square in Ooltewah has now sold 22 homes and another 14 houses are either underway or in final negotiations to complete the first phase of the residential neighborhood. As the residential community grows, Cambridge Square developer BP Construction is unveiling conceptual plans for the community's amenity district, which is scheduled to begin taking shape this spring and be completed by the summer of 2021.

Jim Cheney, marketing manager for Cambridge Square, said phase one infrastructure work is scheduled to begin this spring with an anticipated delivery date in late summer 2021.

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Contributed photo by Cambridge Square / The landscape architect and designer Jason Brownlee in Franklin, Tennessee offers conceptual layout of new swimming pool and clubhouse planned in the residential portion of Cambridge Square in Ooltewah.

Designed by Franklin, Tennessee landscape architect Jason Brownlee, the residential community amenities will include a resort style swimming pool, dedicated splash and play areas for kids, sunning and lounging decks, a gaming and recreational area, a clubhouse with fitness facilities, food and beverage service and open space with walking and exercise trails.

"Our goal is to create a space that makes residents feel like they are taking a vacation just by walking out their door and spending the day by the pool with the neighbors, family and friends," Payne said. "We also wanted to develop an amenity that speaks to people's commitment to health and wellness which is why we have integrated exercise options into the open areas, and included a fitness center facility."

The amenities will ultimately be owned and managed by a Home Owners Association, although the project cost is now being paid by the developer.

Payne along with Waters-Holland Builders anticipate starting an additional 15-20 homes this year. The site, which is just a half mile off on Interstate 75 in Ooltewah adjacent to the Honors Golf Course, is zoned for around 340 homes.

"The overall concept is centered around an active lifestyle and has been designed to complement the growing commercial district which is an amenity all its own," Payne said. "From the day we broke ground, we wanted Cambridge Square to offer residents a living option that they were not going to find in any other community. The amenity concept we are presenting fully supports that vision."

The new homes being built in Cambridge Square vary in size and design and start in price just over $500,000 each.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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