Essex to build first buildings at Eugene Waterfront
Posted: Wed, Dec 15 2021 12:00 am
The city of Eugene and private developers are working on a series of significant projects near the banks of the Willamette River in a bid to revitalize the long-neglected waterfront.
Walker Macy is designing a 4.5-acre riverfront park for the city of Eugene. The aim is to link downtown Eugene to the river with a newly constructed multiuse path.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity to connect the people of Eugene and visitors with the water,” said Chelsea McCann, managing principal of Walker Macy. “The Willamette is important to the city. It’s hard to get to, right? We’re trying to remedy that, at least to the extent that we can, and create easier transitions and pathways for people to get from the urban core to the water.”
Nearby, developer Atkins Dame is planning for the first buildings on a former Eugene Water & Electric Board industrial site.
Atkins Dame is led by Jim Atkins and Dike Dame, two developers who have left their mark on Portland by revitalizing neighborhoods such as the Pearl District and the South Waterfront District. They also teamed up to build two condo towers and a hotel in Los Angeles’ South Park neighborhood.
Atkins Dame has closed on the land and acquired equity for the first two Eugene buildings, Dame said. KPFF is advising the developers on the new streetscape, and consulting with Walker Macy on the riverfront park.
“This is something that Eugene has been trying to make happen for a long, long time,” Dame said.
In the first phase, Atkins Dame will construct two multifamily buildings with approximately 228 units. The buildings will not include retail space, but that is planned as the neighborhood grows, Dame said.
“I don’t see office in the cards,” Dame said. “It will primarily be multifamily and neighborhood-serving retail, but the retail will also be attractive to people coming to the neighborhood for the new park.”
SERA Architects is designing the first two buildings, and Essex General Construction of Eugene is on board as contractor. (SERA completed a master plan for Atkins Dame in 2018).
“We’ve acquired about 360,000 square feet of property, so over time there will be a number of other projects,” Dame said. “These are just the first two.”