The Eugene City Council, acting as the Urban Renewal Agency Board, has agreed to move forward with Williams/Dame & Atkins (WDA) to redevelop the Downtown Riverfront property that the Agency purchased earlier this year. At a July 9 work session, the Council voted to approve terms for a disposition and development agreement and, if possible, negotiate for additional greenspace, returning to Council with revised terms. The agreement is a significant step toward connecting Downtown Eugene to the Willamette River and fulfilling the community’s long-held goal of turning a vacant, inaccessible and empty riverfront area into a vibrant, active, and accessible riverfront neighborhood and community destination.
Based on the agreed-upon terms, WDA will purchase approximately 8 acres of raw, unimproved land for $2.7 million. In addition, WDA would lease or purchase two parcels of land for future commercial and restaurant space. The new neighborhood would include a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, commercial businesses, a restaurant, open space, and a hotel, all of which would complement the new Downtown Riverfront Park and plaza. The redevelopment would add upwards of 300 units of housing to the downtown core and establish new connections and access points to the Willamette River for community members.
“The concept plan presented by Williams/Dame & Atkins was well-received by the community at a number of events,” said Planning & Development Department Executive Denny Braud. “We’re very excited to see this transformational project set in motion. It is something our community has been looking forward to and planning for a long time.”
After the development and disposition agreement is signed, WDA and the City/Agency will enter into a due diligence period. During this time, a number of actions to make the proposed redevelopment a reality will be necessary before WDA is obligated to purchase the property. Several of these – land use code amendments, budget authorization, Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption approval, and creating a Local Improvement District (LID) – will require action by the Council/Agency Board and will provide a number of opportunities for public involvement. Following yesterday’s action on the deal terms, Council initiated the process for the land use code amendments and the process for construction of the site’s infrastructure.
See background information and concept plans for the Downtown Riverfront.
Williams/Dame & Atkins is a Portland-based real estate development firm with an organic approach to urban transformation, collaborating with public and private partners to create unique neighborhoods that blend quality housing, vibrant street life and new business opportunities. The firm led the redevelopment of the Pearl and South Waterfront Districts in Portland, Oregon, as well as the “South” neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles. The design team includes SERA Architects of Portland, which designed the Tate project and the Erb Memorial Union Building renovation and addition in Eugene.