City looking for partner to renovate Eugene Steam Plant

City officials said their vision is to partner with a group that will make the old building into an engaging and welcoming space for people to gather.

Posted: May. 3, 2018 6:20 PM
Updated: May. 3, 2018 6:34 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The City of Eugene is looking for a partner to help them redevelop the old Steam Plant near the EWEB building.

City officials said their vision is to partner with a group that will make the old building into an engaging and welcoming space for people to gather.

In an effort to make the Willamette River more accessible to downtown, the City of Eugene purchased the 28,000 square-foot Steam Plant building as well as the Riverfront property last month and is now looking for a partner to take on the redevelopment project and make the building, which was built back in 1931, into something special.


"It's definitely going to take a lot of knowhow and quite a vision to make something that the community feels comfortable in,” said Will Dowdy, the Urban Development Manager with the City of Eugene. “Something that the community sees as a destination along the river and a place that really celebrates what's special about Eugene."

Dowdy said they don’t know what exactly they will do to the space but said nothing is off the table.

"Some people have talked about a museum, some people have talked about a restaurant or brewery, or brew pub, some people have talked about a space for the arts, and other people have talked about an entrepreneurial hub," Dowdy added.

He said this is just the first step of a long redevelopment process. At this time it's too early to estimate a cost or timeline on when construction would start. Dowdy said groups have until June 11 to apply for the potential partnership and hopes whichever partner the city chooses will contribute out-of-the-box ideas and retain the historic nature of the site.

"What's special about this building is the way that it looks and the way that it feels,” Dowdy said. “So we're looking for someone who can come in and bring that new use into the existing building and keep it special."

They hope to select a partner by this fall.

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