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Greater Glenwood could be in our future

April 1st, 2021 by dk

Don’t look now, but big news is developing in Glenwood. Springfield Economic Development Agency this week voted to hear from three groups next month with redevelopment proposals for assembled lands north Franklin Boulevard and east of I-5.

The Eugene Emeralds want a riverfront baseball stadium. A second proposal features a soccer stadium as part of a sprawling 40-acre complex, including housing, a hotel, a business incubator for high-tech industries, and park improvements.

The star of the show so far seems to be what Greg Vik, Lutfi Thabet, Joel Andersen and Allen Lonstron have in mind for the 9.5-acre lot where Ramsey-Waite Powersports is located. Glenwood Development, LLC wants to build on that parcel and they want to move quickly.

They are proposing an ambitious project that surpasses anything we’ve seen in this part of Oregon. The hotel and conference center envisioned wants to be 19 stories tall. Drivers on I-5 and boaters on the Willamette River could soon be looking at the tallest Oregon building outside Portland. And I do mean soon!

The development team proposes to use Opportunity Zone investments to finance the entire project. Specific timelines are attached to this funding mechanism. Projects must be completed less than three years after they are announced for the investors to receive all promised tax advantages. This project could be entirely built out by 2024.

Imagine 500 housing units, with a healthy portion of them set aside for low-income and workforce households. Homes For Good already has plans for more than 100 affordable units on the parcel immediately southwest of the Ramsey-Waite land.

Beside the hotel and 55,000 square-foot conference center, the developers propose five other buildings, each rising seven stories. They hope to attract boutique retail, restaurants, a grocery store, and possibly a movie theater. Riverfront access will feature biking and jogging trails and a 30,000 square-foot plaza.

The hotel itself will have 378 rooms, three restaurants, two bars, a microbrewery, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and a skybridge to an 800-space parking garage. The parking structure will be made from cross-laminated timber — the first of its kind.

Steve Moe doesn’t like it when people call him the unofficial mayor of (unincorporated) Glenwood. He lives in Springfield now, after all. But he welcomed these proposals enthusiastically. “We’ve been talking about development in Glenwood for a lo-o-o-ong time. It’s good to see something finally happening.”

It’s still just talk, but things are moving quickly. SEDA directors may agree on a plan worth pursuing before the end of April.

Glenwood Development, LLC hopes to break ground in December. Their proposal requires less than a quarter of the land assembled by SEDA for redevelopment. There could still be room for a baseball stadium or a soccer field or both.

It all might happen with breathtaking speed and soaring ambition. If we someday find ourselves referring to this economic region as Greater Glenwood, it will be because of decisions that could be made in the next few weeks.

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Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at www.dksez.com. Three current proposals for Glenwood redevelopment can be viewed at http://www.springfield-or.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2021-03-15-SEDA-Agenda-Packet.pdf

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