Economic Development Spotlight Projects

The City of Springfield, Oregon is known for helping our businesses grow and thrive. Our community has drawn independent entrepreneurs and worldwide industries with our highly skilled workforce, pro-business attitude, and incredible natural amenities.

The City’s Economic Development team fosters an environment that supports job development, business recruitment and retention strategies, and development. Our work is dynamic, impactful, and critical as new and exciting projects continue to emerge with careful planning in our growing community. Read on to learn more about two spotlight projects under development in Springfield, Oregon.

Glenwood Riverfront Development

SEDA and the Springfield City Council have shaped the vision for Glenwood through decades of significant work, leadership, and partnership with community members. The vision for development in the Glenwood area of Springfield has been guided by foundational planning efforts such as the Glenwood Refinement Plan, which was later improved and refined through an extensive community engagement process that led to the formation of the voter-approved Glenwood Urban Renewal District and the development of the Glenwood Riverfront Plan.

Project Goal

The community’s vision for the Glenwood includes development of a vibrant riverfront neighborhood that promotes density and a mix of housing, a focus on access to the riverfront and open spaces, and incorporation of commercial and hospitality opportunities.

Project Milestones

Glenwood has been under Springfield’s jurisdiction since 1999. Development in Glenwood is guided by the Glenwood Refinement Plan, originally adopted by Eugene in 1990, adopted by Springfield in 1999, and amended in 2005. Learn more about the Glenwood Refinement Plan at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/glenwood-refinement-plan/

In 2008, the Springfield City Council initiated a phased project to update the Glenwood Refinement Plan to support and facilitate the redevelopment of Glenwood into an attractive place to live, work and visit.

Following an extensive citizen involvement process, the City Council and Lane County Board of Commissioners approved a package of land use amendments for Phase I in 2012. The Glenwood Riverfront Mixed-Use Area Refinement Plan was adopted in 2014, setting the overall vision for the area The amendments were acknowledged by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development in 2014. The American Planning Association gave the Phase I Glenwood Refinement Plan a 2015 National Planning Excellence Award for Economic Planning and Development.

Since 2016, SEDA and City of Springfield assembled land for the redevelopment of the Glenwood Riverfront. SEDA and the City acquired approximately 9.5 acres.

SEDA released a Request for Qualifications in 2021 seeking well-qualified and experienced developers. This RFQ marked SEDA’s first formal public process for requests submissions from qualified developers. SEDA selected development team Edlen & Company and deChase Miksis – a team that combines experience across local, regional, and national markets and many years of constructed and successful projects.

SEDA approved 1.4 acres of land for acquisition to be added to the Glenwood Urban Renewal Plan Section 700.C by SEDA Resolution on October 24, 2022. The Plan was ratified by the City Council on December 5, 2022.

To achieve Glenwood’s vision requires operationalization of the refinement plan through a master planning process, SEDA issued a Request for Proposals for Glenwood Riverfront Master Planning Services on July 29, 2022. Adopting a Master Plan was a key phase in the land use entitlement process needed before SEDA could enter into a final disposition agreement with Edlen & Company and deChase Miksis to develop the Glenwood Riverfront.

SEDA received five proposals, and three were invited to attend a formal interview and presentation with the review committee before final scores were compiled. The SEDA Board selected Rowell Brokaw Architects and Walker Macy from the finalists.

SEDA approved the purchase of the Track Town Holdings properties, which are approximately 0.35 acres of the last 0.5 acres of the Master Plan Area. This action was a continuation of the City of Springfield and SEDA’s land assembly, beginning in 2016, to develop the Glenwood Riverfront area.

SEDA is under contract to purchase an additional approximately 2.8 acres.

Other public and private property owners, partners to the future vision of the site, account for just over 17 acres of directly adjacent land. SEDA is coordinating with these other property owners to prepare and adopt a single Master Plan for these properties, encompassing approximately 30 acres of land total.

SEDA began weekly meetings with Rowell Brokaw and Walker Macy and kicked off the Master Planning process. The team began reviewing key city documents and meeting with stakeholders to understand the goals of this project.

SEDA received a presentation from the Master Planning Team for the initial concept for the Glenwood Master Plan Area.  Notes and a recording from that presentation can be found here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O85hpB3AuBc and the agenda packet can be found here https://laserfiche.springfield-or.gov/WebLink/Browse.aspx?id=4251744&dbid=0&repo=City-of-Springfield-Laserfiche

SEDA closed on the final property in Glenwood. This completes the land acquisition phase of the project, bringing the total project land to 30 acres, of which SEDA and the City own about one third.

SEDA received another presentation from the Master Planning Team for a more refined concept of the Glenwood Master Plan Area. This concept will serve as the framework for the Master Plan application. The presentation can be viewed here and the agenda packet can be read here 

The Master Planning Team met with the City of Springfield Planning department to have the Development Issues Meeting, DIM. A DIM is a planning meeting that allows developers a chance to discuss their proposal with City Staff. This meeting provides an opportunity to discuss the project and identify any opportunities or constraints.  

The SEDA Board approved the proposed Glenwood Residential Relocation Plan. Working with Universal Field Services, 8 residents in Glenwood will receive relocation assistance which includes assistance finding housing options, moving costs paid for, and rent differential if the new home has a more expensive rent. 

The SEDA Board approved a contract amendment to the Glenwood Master Planning Contract. This approved amendment covers the scope and cost of the processes to prepare and apply for previously identified land use steps. This work includes annexation, a zoning map and comprehensive plan map amendment, and development code text amendments.  

Next Steps

Glenwood Commitment

Glenwood has been, and continues to be, a high-priority investment area for SEDA and the Springfield City Council. With this prioritization, SEDA has participated in the development of three new Glenwood area hotels, the expansion of significant manufacturing and employment sites, the construction of Franklin Boulevard, investments in road design and site recruitment along Franklin Boulevard/Hwy 225, the extension of the 14th Street bike path, the riverfront path viaduct, and many other partnerships. Learn more about the extensive efforts in Glenwood at https://springfield-or.gov/city/development-public-works/glenwood-refinement-plan/

Blue McKenzie Construction Sign

The Blue McKenzie project, an eight-story residential building with 84 market rate units and ground floor commercial space was planned to be located in a vacant lot at 740 A Street (between the Springfield Post Office and the former Buick Building). The Springfield Economic Development Agency (SEDA) Board and staff have been working on this project since 2019, supporting the development with agreements for both a $2.1M predevelopment loan and a $10M construction loan, funded through Urban Renewal dollars.

On June 26, 2023 the SEDA Board moved to restart the project due to volatility in the lending market and limited funding pathways to pay for the remainder of the project’s construction. The market and lending conditions have changed significantly since the Project predevelopment work began in Spring 2021 due to factors outside the project’s control. Construction costs have risen more than ten percent since May 2021, and in 2023, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to a fifteen-year high of 5.25%, which impacts SEDA’s ability to provide a construction loan and the developer’s ability to secure construction financing for the project.

Projects like Blue McKenzie are large-scale and complex and require constant management of changing conditions over time so that viability is regularly reviewed.

While the market volatility make this project a challenge, the Blue McKenzie project goals are evergreen and continue to be supported by the SEDA board for housing projects in downtown in the future.

  • To create proof of concept to communicate viability and profitability of a new construction type/height in Springfield.
  • To provide a market rate, high density, housing project to serve as a comparable to financial institutions approving similar future projects. This project is intended to create a market comparable, which does not exist today. By proving that it can be built, and it will be occupied, future developers and banks will find more confidence and see less risk in their ability to build and pay for similar projects.
  • To create a dense development in Downtown Springfield, which spurs subsequent private, taxable, development and increases market rate housing stock.

Increasing available housing options continues to be a significant need in Springfield and across the broader region to meet community members’ needs now and in the future. Urban Renewal dollars are intended to be used for the redevelopment of Downtown Springfield and creation of new, taxable, development. The purpose of urban renewal is to use the Springfield Economic Development Agency’s (SEDA) funds to help developers, property owners, and businesses realize the potential of their sites in Downtown Springfield. The district was formed because the market analysis and data reflected a neighborhood of our community that would not be able to redevelop without public partnership.

Project Goals

  • Create proof of concept to communicate viability and profitability of a new construction type/height in Springfield.
  • Provide a market rate, high density, housing project to serve as a comparable to financial institutions approving similar future projects. This project is intended to create a market comparable, which does not exist today. By proving that it can be built, and it will be occupied, future developers and banks will find more confidence and see less risk in their ability to build and pay for similar projects.
  • Create a dense development in Downtown Springfield, which spurs subsequent private, taxable, development and increases market rate housing stock.

Project Milestones

The SEDA Board reviewed and approved funding for a request for $85,000 from the Scherer family, owner of the property located at 702 A Street to support initial feasibility assessments of a mixed-use site redevelopment to include residential and commercial across the entirety of the site. The site at this time included the former Buick dealership building and two surface parking lots.

The consultant hired for the feasibility study presented the findings to the SEDA Board. Based on this presentation, the Board directed staff to further explore financial partnership strategies for later consideration.

The SEDA Board directed staff to focus efforts on a project partnership which pivots SEDA funds away from a public subsidy grant and towards contributions of resources that might generate direct financial return to the Agency. This direction provided the content for what would later be included in a memorandum of understanding with Blue McKenzie Apartments, LLC, the project owner.

The SEDA Board authorized SEDA to enter a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Blue McKenzie Apartments, LLC. The MOU outlined intent by SEDA to financially participate in a new Downtown Springfield, mixed-use, market-rate project referred to as “Blue McKenzie”. This participation was structured as two loans – $2,000,000 for predevelopment activities and land acquisition; and $10,000,000 to repay the predevelopment loan and fund a substantive portion of construction lending.

The SEDA Board authorized staff to execute a loan for the initial $2,000,000 for predevelopment and property acquisition. This loan authorization is an administrative and budgetary process step after approval of the funds being loaned to the project.

The property was partitioned into three lots, and the Blue McKenzie lot was sold from a private party, the Scherer family, to Blue McKenzie, LLC in June of 2021 for $400,000. The project’s predevelopment work continued in terms of financial feasibility and preliminary site preparations. Predevelopment work can take time, and this large period between SEDA conversations about the project is reflective of that.

The SEDA Board determined in June of 2022 to support a delay of construction bidding until Winter of 2022 due to market instability in both labor and material costs and lack of predictable data to estimate project performance. This delay meant a shift of construction lending to Winter of 2022 and groundbreaking to Summer of 2023.

SEDA reviewed market conditions for construction bidding and approved to both extend the time frame of the predevelopment loan agreement and proceed with the second portion of financial participation by the SEDA Board – the $10,000,000 construction loan as committed in the MOU with Blue McKenzie, LLC in March 2021. SEDA also approved the loan terms. Terms were refined from assumptions under the MOU to adjust to the current market conditions’ impacts to project costs. Many of the terms are also tied directly to the senior lender requirements to assure coordination of funds is achieved; the senior lender has not yet been identified by the owner.

Notable term conditions include:

  • Loan amount – $2,000,000 for repayment of SEDA predevelopment loan and $8,000,000 for project construction costs; not to exceed $10,000,000 total.
  • Interest rate – SEDA’s borrowing rate plus 0.5%. This interest rate can be adjusted should SEDA refinance to a lower rate in the future.
  • Repayment terms – Entire loan due and payable at 15 years (but may be extended as needed to accommodate repayment following senior lender payment). There are no prepayment penalties.
  • Loan security – Deed of Trust secured against title to the property, and an Assignment to SEDA of predevelopment and development work product.
  • Loan priority – SEDA loan principle will be in third position, behind both the to-be-determined primary lender and $1,000,000 in Blue McKenzie Apartments, LLC equity contribution plus earnings of 4% return on this equity.

Hold back – All SEDA funds will be disbursed prior to the securing of permanent financing by Blue McKenzie Apartments, LLC. Blue McKenzie Apartments, LLC equity investment must be spent at same time, or proportionately with, SEDA loan funds.

The project received land use approval for the submitted Site Plan application. Additionally, during the month of December, Blue McKenzie, LLC proceeded to solicit bids for construction of the building for anticipated financing in Winter 2023 and groundbreaking in Summer 2023.

On June 26, 2023 the SEDA Board moved to restart the project due to volatility in the lending market and limited funding pathways to pay for the remainder of the project’s construction. The market and lending conditions have changed significantly since the Project predevelopment work began in Spring 2021 due to factors outside the project’s control. Construction costs have risen more than ten percent since May 2021, and in 2023, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to a fifteen-year high of 5.25%, which impacts SEDA’s ability to provide a construction loan and the developer’s ability to secure construction financing for the project.

The SEDA Board packet can be found here: https://laserfiche.springfield-or.gov/WebLink/DocView.aspx?id=4231185&dbid=0&repo=City-of-Springfield-Laserfiche

The meeting recording can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5tF_loWRB8&list=PL99QrTsZHc6x9kZn7Sr9Ssc2DwMCdS3M0&index=36&ab_channel=CityofSpringfield%2COregon