City Government, Springfield

Glenwood Area inches closer to development

SPRINGFIELD — The Glenwood Riverfront is a linchpin for Springfield’s economic development— and last week, city officials met to hear an update on the planning process that will bring the city closer to breaking ground. 

While specifics of the project have yet to be ironed out, city officials estimate the master planning process will take 17 months, pending the purchase of nearly five more acres to complete their land acquisition goals. 

The redevelopment joint team, who were appointed the master planners of the project in late 2021, Edlen and Company and deChase Miksis, continue to assure city leadership that the Glenwood Refinement Plan is at the heart of its vision.

The Glenwood Refinement Plan lays out a vision for the approximately one-square-mile area between Eugene and downtown Springfield and bound by Interstate 5 to the west and south and the Willamette River to the east and north. The proposed site is near the roundabouts just over the Main Street Bridge — just west of the downtown corridor. 

City officials say access to the waterway and recreation sites are one of the central goals of the initiative. 

“This project needs to set the tone for the Glenwood Riverfront District, and the City needs a partner with a successful track record in planning and executing complex, multiphase public/private development projects. Our development team …  has the experience to deliver,” the proposal reads. 

Locally, the development firm has built a number of key developments in Lane County, including  Crescent Village in Eugene, the former EWEB steam plant in Eugene and sections of the Alton Baker Riverfront. 

The Refinement Plan envisions the site as a vibrant riverfront neighborhood that promotes density and a mix of housing that incorporates commercial and hospitality opportunities. It also imagines a focus on access to the riverfront and open spaces. 

“The Glenwood redevelopment area is going to serve as a primary site for commercial access to the river, lots of housing and open space for the community,” said Allie Camp, Springfield’s economic development manager. “That allows us to create a development site that encourages people to move to Springfield, stay in Springfield, and build their lives here.” 

Since 2016, the Springfield Economic Development Agency (SEDA) and City of Springfield has assembled 9.5 acres of riverfront property for the redevelopment of the Glenwood Riverfront. 

SEDA is nearing purchase of an additional 2.8 acres that borders the city-owned property and remains in negotiations for the remaining three parcels within their proposed boundary. Official specifications of the project have yet to be announced, but city officials are eager to begin work as they near their acreage goals. 

“I’m looking forward to what conception models the team brings to us,” said Joe Pishioneri, Springfield city councilor. “We’ve been working on this since the formation of SEDA and we now have an area large enough to do significant development.” 

The site mock-ups are still a long way out, but now that the master planning proposal has made significant headway with land acquisition, the master planning team is set to begin designing both the “horizontal” and “vertical” construction plans.  

While there won’t be discussion about an actual project, whether the developer would buy or lease the property or what to do about tenants on city-owned and SEDA-owned property for at least a year, city officials say the master planning team is estimating a 17-month process. 

“One of the things that I like to keep in mind in terms of cost and timeframe is that COVID exploded a lot of big projects,” Camp said.

Supply chain challenges, labor shortages and community outcry are just some of the issues the project has faced.

In December 2021, following a formal Request for Qualifications Process, the SEDA Board selected the joint team Edlen and Company and deChase Miksis as future developers for the SEDA and City-owned properties. The culmination of the RFQ process is picking a partner, then the city and developer would work together to develop a plan with “multiple check-in points along the way,” city officials said. 

The project also aids in another of Springfield’s goals – working within an Urban Renewal Area. Urban Renewal is a financing tool that allows the city to reinvest property taxes back into an area in order to improve portions of the community. 

“Glenwood is going to be a really good example of what tax increment financing can get a community,” Camp said. 

“Excitement about the project is very high,” Camp said, noting that the developers “know Glenwood’s history, and they’re excited to see it grow into its future self.”