Downtown Eugene


Monday, November 27, 2006

RFQ development approved

The City just approved the development of an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) for a development team for the properties on West Broadway. This will be released in the Spring of 2007, and responses will be received until 60-days after that.

Many of the points brought up in the meeting, and reflected in the RFQ, are very flexible, an uncontroversial. A process that's incremental, yet committed, positive, and which makes downtown a destination and living space, a great street etc.

The issuing of a general RFQ, in 2007, several seasons after the RFQ for the Sears building, is unfortunate, because their goals overlap. Hopefully nothing bad will happen to existing tenants in the meantime.

This is probably the biggest misperception in urban development: that existing organizations should be relocated in oprder to increase density. While that's true when density os beating down the door, it makes no sense when buildings stand empty despite reasonable prices. Creating more square feet of rentable space is obviously not the problem.

Even empty buildings shouldn't be abandoned so quickly. The "Center Court" building has been a successful multi-purpose structure for many years, and an out-of-town architect has suggested putting a theatre there? Millions of dollars would be wasted because of inattention to current resources.

But filled buildings, and the activity within them, should be treated like gold. Under threat are DIVA, The Tango Center, John Henry's, the Jazz Station, MECCA, and a number of other projects people have poured their hearts into. The empty spaces around them cannot be blamed on their hard work, but rather on the inattention of the current landlords, who cannot profit from further investment.

Protect the existing organizations. They are more important than density.

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