Business & Development, Creswell

Burned out Super 8 taking on new life with apartment-style living

Mattresses from the old motel are being donated to the Eugene mission. EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLE

CRESWELL — The derelict motel that burned up over a year ago in Creswell is being turned into apartments as new owners draft plans for the 2.2-acre property just off Interstate 5. 

Before its purchase in June, the Super 8 Motel at 345 E. Oregon Ave. sat neglected, disheveled and burned. A pitiful eyesore and a prominent presence in town, the building attracted criminal mischief, squatting and subsequent routine police patrol for over a year and a half. 

That’s because in November 2018, the motel caught fire twice in three days. The former owners, Inder Pal Singh and Satinder Pal Singh, were later charged with first-degree arson for the motel fires.

Since then, the 25,536-square-foot building has been posted up for sale for $1,890,000; and aside from attracting mischief, it also attracted some interest from other motel chains, the City of Creswell and other potential local investors.

In late June, Creswell and Eugene residents and real estate investors Jim St. Clair, Kerrie Johnson and Daniel Basaraba bought the property to convert it from a city eyesore apartment and commercial space. 

“The goal is to get approval for residential with commercial mix use development,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to bring market rate priced apartments to Creswell, as there is a ton of interest and request because of the limited options available in town.” 

There is work already underway; the demolition crew has repaired the fire and water damage, and this week, guts from the old building are being purged as old motel mattresses are stacked high and stripped sheet metal lies in the old motel corridors. The mattresses and furniture that were not damaged in the fire are to be hauled this week to the Eugene Mission, Johnson said. 

Johnson said that “the building will remain intact but will be greatly revitalized,” and doesn’t know yet how many apartments the building will hold. “These are all development projects that gotta get from Point A to Point B,” she said. 

“One thought is to update the rooms with new sheetrock, flooring and kitchenettes. Ultimately the lower story would house some commercial space as well as apartments,” Creswell city manager Michelle Amberg said. “The new owners would like to convert the entire upstairs to apartments — most will be studio apartments but they are thinking of including a few one- and two-bedroom apartments as well.”

They are considering filling in the pool and putting a playground in place, Johnson said. 

The City repeatedly expressed interest in securing a right-of-way to develop semi-truck/trailer access to the Bald Knob industrial site from the intersection, with I-5 south between the old motel and TJ’s Restaurant. It pitched a proposal to purchase right-of-way but the former property owner declined the offer because they wanted to sell the property without modifications. The new owners, however, have expressed interest in selling that right-of-way to the city, Amberg said, and are in current negotiations on the sale. 

“We are definitely interested in working with the City on this,” Johnson said. 

Other projects developed by these investors include the Market District, a shopping district in downtown Eugene that was once a vacant parcel abutting Skinners Butte; the Beachcomber Cottages, a cottage cluster near Yachats purchased and renovated in 2019; and Jim’s Landing on Springfield’s Main Street, a former dive bar eyesore that now houses George and Violet’s Steakhouse and Simply Cycle.

Ultimately Johnson said the investors want the property that has been seen as an eyesore and a problem, “and a target for vandals and squatters at the entrance to the city to become a nice-looking project with street trees and pride of ownership.

The investors are meeting with the City of Creswell for an initial planning meeting with the City in two weeks, Johnson said, and are already in the throes of productive conversations around Creswell beautification with the City. 



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