Sometimes a solution comes along disguised as two problems. Eugene needs a new city hall sometime soon, and it may cost as much as $100 million to build it. Citizens polled via telephone reject the idea that a gleaming new facade for city government belongs on Eugene City Council’s front burner. Meantime, what to do about the downtown debacle? Options on downtown properties will soon begin expiring, but nobody has devised a way to lure a developer to do the job without public subsidies.
Why not offer a lease-back option, where the developer builds a complex downtown that includes 100,000 square feet of office space and the city agrees ahead of time to move all its city offices to that space, above the ground-floor retail and below the top-floor residential?
Developer gets a guaranteed long-term tenant. Merchants get bustling office workers above them. Residences get a daytime-only buffer between them and retail. And the city then has a half-block on 8th Avenue to repurpose or sell. Win-win-win-win?