1059 Willamette Street
The building at 1059 Willamette Street served as the Lane Community College (LCC) Downtown Center until 2012 when LCC moved in to their new Downtown Campus at 10th and Olive. In April 2019, the City submitted a letter of interest to LCC for purchase of the site. In May 2019, the LCC Board approved sale of the site to the City of Eugene.
On January 29, 2020 City Council approved the use of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars to purchase the 1059 Willamette Street site. (The meeting materials and webcast can be found here.) The City acquired the building in April 2020.
Proposed Project: Mixed-Income Housing
The use of CDBG funds requires that the site be used for housing and that at least 51% of the units must be affordable to households earning 80% of Area Median Income. The City of Eugene is proposing redevelopment of the site into a mixed income housing project, where 51% of the units would meet the CDBG income requirements, and the other 49% could be rented at market rates. (See Project Vision tab for more information.) At their January 29 work session, Council approved the use of a Request for Proposals process for redevelopment of the site.
Downtown Urban Renewal
In 2016, the City of Eugene’s Urban Renewal Agency (Agency) identified the property as one of four projects in the 2016 Downtown Urban Renewal Plan amendment to be eligible for Agency resources to assist in the property’s redevelopment. The 2016 Downtown Urban Renewal Plan Amendment requires that the City undertake a number of community engagement activities before Urban Renewal funds can be used for the project. (See Urban Renewal tab for more information.)
The site is eligible for funds from the City’s Downtown Urban Renewal District, and staff have been working to identify the appropriate financial support that can make a mixed-income housing development feasible. Using those Urban Renewal funds requires a Public Hearing, so that the public can provide input on the use of the funds for the project.
City Council discussed the project at their July 15, 2020 work session and authorized staff to schedule a Public Hearing, now set for September 21. A Council work session is scheduled for September 30, so that Council can consider taking action on offering Urban Renewal funding assistance for the project. At this time, it is not known how much financial support will be available.
If approved, the City will offer the property to prospective developers through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process. An Evaluation Committee will score and rank submitted proposals, staff will ask the public for feedback, and City Council will decide which proposal to move forward with. City staff are working to select a developer by March 2021.
WHY HOUSING AT 1059 WILLAMETTE
Eugene lacks housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type. Our efforts with Housing Tools and Strategies, the TAC Report, and the Eugene/Springfield Consolidated Plan are all working towards increasing the supply of housing units for folks of varying income levels in our community.
Traditional affordable housing developments target folks that earn 60% and below of the area median income (AMI). This housing supply continues to be built because of the level of financial subsidy available (tax credits, HOME funds), making these projects financially viable. The City provides land in order to leverage these other subsidies.
Market rate developments continue to be built in Eugene. These projects are financially viable due to the high demand for housing in our community. When demand is high, rents will also be high. In order to secure housing, tenants are often paying more than 30% of their income to housing costs, meaning that they are rent burdened.
This project is an opportunity to utilize the CDBG funds we have available to increase the housing supply for incomes between 60-100% of the AMI, referred to as moderate income housing. The CDBG resource allows the City to be flexible and creative with providing this needed housing.
The proposed 49% of market rate units will help to fill the financial gap, but it will not be enough. The City anticipates utilizing Urban Renewal, among other financial tools, to help close this financial gap. This site is identified as an eligible project in the 2016 Downtown Urban Renewal Plan Amendment. This plan makes the project eligible for up to $6 million, with current estimated range from $1 million to $3 million. (See Urban Renewal tab for more information.)
The site’s central location and our community’s need for more housing options at all income levels indicate that housing would be a productive use. The City acquired the property in April 2020 as a CDBG Land Acquisition for Affordable Housing site, also known as a land bank site.
The CDBG funding source dictates that at least 51% of the units must be affordable for and leased to households earning 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or below. The remaining 49% of the units would be leased at market rate rents.
This will help to fill a gap in the housing affordability spectrum, allowing folks a housing option in between 60% AMI and market rate rents. At a moderate income housing level, folks would be able to save money and work towards financial security instead of being rent burdened.
The site is located in the center of walkable, bike friendly downtown Eugene, directly across the street from LTD’s Downtown Station. This project would create an active, engaging street face on Willamette Street, one of the Downtown Plan’s identified Great Streets. And, this project would implement compact urban development that encourages the use of transportation options.
The City of Eugene’s Urban Renewal Agency (Agency) identified the property as one of four projects in the 2016 Downtown Urban Renewal Plan amendment to be eligible for Agency resources to assist in the property’s redevelopment.
The Downtown Urban Renewal Plan outlines a number of community engagement activities that must be completed before the Agency Board can authorize the use of tax increment funds on this project:
Community Engagement and Project Scoping took place in January 2020, prior to property acquisition. Council's first consideration of UR funding (Council Review #1) took place on July 27, 2020. Click here to view the webcast and materials.
The Public Hearing on the project is scheduled for September 21, 2020. The public will be asked to consider whether or not the project should move forward, and whether UR funds should be used. Council's second review (Council Review #2) is scheduled for September 30, 2020.