Projects spark energy in Eugene

| Print |  Email
Articles - November 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010

 

1110_ATS01
A rendering of the $11 million hotel project at the Fifth Street Public Market. It's one of several downtown projects under way in Eugene. // ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF THE ULUM GROUP

City efforts to reduce barriers to construction along with some substantial loans to downtown projects have helped boost Eugene’s economy.

“The prices are right,” says city manager Jon Ruiz. “Construction costs are down 20% or more compared to a few years ago.” The city is trying to also streamline the permitting process. “[Obtaining permits is] taking three hours rather than three or four weeks,” Ruiz says. The city will also do same-day inspections or Saturday inspections.

One major project under way is a 50,000-square-foot upscale hotel at the Fifth Street Public Market. The 69-room, $11 million project is being developed by market owner Brian Obie and has received $600,000 in loans from the city. Planning on the project began several years ago and was delayed because private investors and banks pulled back lending during the recession, but “there are signs of improvement in Eugene’s economy,” Obie says. Eugene’s August unemployment rate was 10.7%, down from 12.1% in 2009. The occupancy rate of the Fifth Street Public Market was around 93% through the recession, but when the hotel is completed next summer the vacant retail spots are expected to fill again.

“I think Eugene has a huge amount of potential,” says Brad Malsin, president of Portland-based Beam Development. His company purchased two buildings in downtown Eugene: the Center Court and Washburne buildings, which total 100,000 square feet. He also has bought an empty lot near the Center Court building where he plans to construct a new building that will be between 60,000 and 100,000 square feet. All three buildings will contain office and retail space and are expected to be completed within 15 months. The city helped Beam acquire one of the buildings with almost $10 million in loans. The city also helped fund Lane Community College’s downtown campus with $8 million in loans.

It’s all part of Eugene’s development strategy, which focuses on building “the social and physical infrastructure,” Ruiz says. The city is trying to anticipate economic changes and adjust to meet the needs of the community.

“We’re excited about what is going on,” he says.

CORY MIMMS
 

More Articles

Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Read more...

Aim High

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

We get the education we deserve.


Read more...

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...

Greenpeace (temporarily) prevents Shell oil ship from leaving Portland

The Latest
Thursday, July 30, 2015
hangersBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge in an attempt to prevent a ship from heading to the Arctic.


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


Read more...

The 10 most successful crowdfunding campaigns in Oregon

The Latest
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
081915-crowdfundingmainBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

One of the hottest new investment trends has proven quite lucrative for some companies.


Read more...

Baby. Boom!

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

A new co-working model disrupts office sharing, child care and work-life balance as we know it.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS