On July 27, Eugene City Council awarded a ten-year property tax exemption to Granite Properties LLC’s Olive Lofts, the first project to apply for a Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) since Council extensively revised the program last year. By redeveloping a currently vacant building, into a dense, mixed use development, Olive Lofts will make a significant contribution to Eugene’s downtown vibrancy and the community’s goal of adding more housing to our city center. The project is expected to cost $5.4 million and Granite Properties, a local developer, estimates that 80% of the construction contracts will stay with Lane County businesses.
The property is located at 844 Olive Street, the former site of Rogue Brewery which has been vacant since 2014. Olive Lofts, the proposed project, will be five stories, with four new floors of housing over an existing ground floor. Altogether, the project will include 36 housing units, a ground floor commercial space. As part of the new public benefit criteria, a minimum of 30% of the units will be moderate-income housing during the exemption period.
Council revised the MUPTE program in 2015 after a 2 ½ year review. The updated program includes new public benefit requirements that made student housing ineligible for the tax exemption and added a community member review panel, as well as a review by an independent financial consultant.
Prior to Council vote, the community member review panel made up of technical representatives and neighborhood representatives considered the application’s qualifications for a MUPTE. The Panel concluded that the project met the public benefit criteria and demonstrated financial need for the exemption. Panel members had varying opinions on the length of the MUPTE, with majority recommending the full 10 year MUPTE.
Granite Properties expects to begin construction early next year, with completion in 2018.
MUPTE is an incentive program to encourage high quality, multi-unit downtown housing. Both rental and ownership housing are eligible. The program is enabled by state law and offers a 10-year property tax exemption on qualified investments within the downtown area.