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4 groups approach Eugene with plans for old EWEB steam plant building

"Our team’s core principle is to 'maximize public utilization of an epic structure',” said Matt Sayre, who is part of one of the four groups along with Mark Frohnmayer from Arcimoto. (Submitted)

EUGENE, Ore. - Four groups have expressed interest in redeveloping the steam plant on the former Eugene Water & Electric Board property along the Willamette River.

The City of Eugene now owns the land and is working to redevelop the space into a park, commercial buildings and housing.

The steam plant has been separated from the overall property due to the building's unique character.

There are no concrete proposals yet. The groups responded to a Request for Qualifications in order to be considered for the next step.

"We're really optimistic about being able to find a local partner who's going to be able to take the steam plant into the next phase of its life, while honoring the historic significance this building has played in the community," Amanda D'Souza with the City of Eugene said Friday.

A committee will meet with each group next week and forward recommendations to City Manager Jon Ruiz. The committee may pick one or more of the groups to move on to the next phase.

While there is no concrete timeline, many local projects aim to be completed ahead of 2021. That's when the IAAF World Championships come to the U.S. for the first time. The event - the largest track and field competition outside of the summer Olympics - will take place at Hayward Field, itself undergoing a dramatic transformation in the coming months.

"Our team’s core principle is to 'maximize public utilization of an epic structure',” said Matt Sayre, who is part of one of the four groups along with Mark Frohnmayer from Arcimoto. "Our initial vision includes a ground floor tap room with a series of micro-restaurant and micro-retail spaces; upper levels with flexible space for co-working, community and university classes, movement/performance spaces, venture incubation and research to provide a fiscal foundation for the building; and a space that can be used for music, gathering, and special community events. It will be an icon in Eugene and represent its history, grit and fortitude, and be the authentic anchor and connector that the public has asked for from the riverfront redevelopment. Additionally the Steam Plant will be a beacon to the future—the spaces we need today to inspire the ideas of tomorrow."

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