1203 Willamette Construction Sequences

Steps in the Sequence:

1. Existing 2017 Facade 

2. Existing Facade Stripped Back to Reveal Original Structure

3. Existing Columns Reinforced and New Columns Inserted

4. Glulam and Concrete Shear Wall Inserted; Weather Barrier Going in Place

5. Windows, Garage Doors, and Cladding Installed

6. Finished 2018 Facade

Steps in the Sequence:

1. Existing 2017 Interior with Metal Window Grating Removed

2. Existing Wall Stripped Back to Reveal Original Structure

3. New Columns Inserted

4. Gypcrete Floor Installed

5. Sprinklers Installed

6. Finished 2018 Interior - Rowell Brokaw's Office

OSU's New Ice Core Freezers

Project Manager Tricia Berg stepped into the −13°C ice core freezer as part of her punch list for the OSU Marine and Geology Repository. In order to ensure the perfect temperature for ice cores collected around the world, this room is equipped with evaporators, insulated sandwich panels, and an insulated concrete slab. Tricia also inspected the sediment sample rooms where sediments will be placed within the 23' tall space on 19' racks. A specialized sprinkler system with high pressure water serves as a back-up emergency system for the space. In the coming weeks, precious ice and sediment cores, acquired from Florida State under a national grant program, will be stored in OSU's new repository facility.

Amazon Corner Construction Update

June 8, 2018. View of Spencer Butte from 5th floor terrace. 

Form needs a face. The cladding for Amazon Corner is being installed. The building will feature a mix of brick veneer, Parklex, stucco, and metal cladding. The site is also coming along. A stormwater planter has been cast in the parking lot. A concrete, jogged walkway in the divider between lanes on Hilyard Street marks the beginning of a pedestrian crosswalk. Amazon Corner is anticipated to open in September.

2018 AIA / SWO Design Awards

Rowell Brokaw Architects receives Three Design Awards at the 2018 AIA Southwestern Oregon Design Awards

Rowell Brokaw Architects, PC is honored to be among the recipients of the 2018 AIA Southwestern Oregon (SWO) Design Awards. This year Rowell Brokaw received three awards, including one Honor Award. This Design Award Program is the profession’s highest recognition for work that exemplifies design excellence and enhances the built environment. The AIA-SWO Design Awards Program occurs every four-to-five years.

On June 29, the AIA-SWO Design Awards Banquet was held in the Ballroom of the UO Ford Alumni Center. Of the 30 projects submitted, 9 projects were singled out for recognition.

Judging this year’s entries were Gary J. Aquilina, AIA, from CAS Architects, Mountain View, CA; Carrie Strickland, FAIA, from Works Progress architects, Portland, L.A., and Denver; Cassandra Keller from Clark Keller, Canberra, Australia; Robert Hastings, FAIA, the Agency Architect for TriMet in Portland; and Ruth Baleiko, AIA, from Miller Hull, Seattle office. 



Arts and Technology Academy

Architecture Firm: Rowell Brokaw Architects in collaboration with Opsis Architecture

Project Team: Mark Young, Greg Brokaw, John Rowell, Patrick Hannah, Elaine Lawson, Britni Jessup, Ken Hutchinson, Matt Travis, Peter Utsey, and Austin Bailey at RB and Alec Holser, Jim Kalvelage, Joe Baldwin, Jeri Tess, and Nate Wood at Opsis with Catena Consulting Engineers, Interface Engineering, Cameron McCarthy

Owner/Client: 4J Eugene School District

Contractor: John Hyland Construction

Photographer: Christian Columbres Photography

Jury’s Comments: “A fantastic renovation of an existing school that interprets a new pedagogy for STEM curriculum with a new organization for this middle school. The result feels like a completely new institution that embraces open and transparent spaces for learning. New relationships are skillfully organized both in plan and section by providing places of learning for classes as well as small groups and individual spaces. The result is a unifying whole of existing spaces, materials, and structure with the new additions that create a complete translation for the school. Particular skill was demonstrated in the architectural treatments that unify existing structure, materials, and spaces with the new construction. The end result is both robust and delicate…elegant and durable.”



1203 Willamette

Architecture Firm: Rowell Brokaw Architects

Project Team: John Rowell, Greg Brokaw, Patrick Hannah, Britni Jessup, Tricia Berg, Lorri Nelson, Paul Harman with deChase Miksis, Catena Consulting Engineers, Innovative Air, and Reynold's Electric

Owner/Client: 1203 Willamette, LLC

Contractor: Essex General Construction

Photographer: Christian Columbres Photography, Erik Bishoff Photography

Jury Comments: “The adaptive reuse of a 1940’s era furniture store, with limited relationship with the life of downtown Eugene, is a terrific case study of urban revitalization. The design decision of using ‘removal rather than insertion’ proved to be an excellent strategy. By engaging both levels of the original building, it completely transforms the streetscape and greatly contributes to the City’s livability. The jury commends the use of the building’s elements of wood structure, open fenestrations, and authentic materials to create lively interior and exterior spaces. In particular, the jury recognizes the careful proportions, scale of spaces, use of elemental materials, interior and exterior lighting, vertical circulation and layering of movement.”



Roseburg Forest Products Headquarters

Architecture Firm: Rowell Brokaw Architects

Project Team: Greg Brokaw, Britni Jessup, Frank Visconti, Lorri Nelson with Catena Consulting Engineers, Comfort Flow, and EC Electric

Owner/Client: Roseburg Forest Products

Contractor: McKenzie Commercial Contracting

Photographer: Christian Columbres Photography, Frank Visconti

Jury Comments: “What could have been another example of treating large box buildings as part of our disposable society, instead became a wonderful revitalization. The plan to organize the perimeter of the triangulated building into open offices, while enlivening the center with gathering and meeting spaces, resulted in a compete transformation. The clear use of materials, color, natural and artificial lighting, and furnishings is exemplary. What is especially powerful is the creation of a central space that promotes and engenders equity.”

Eugene River District Rendering featured in Register-Guard


Article in the Register-Guard

Eugene residents want mix of natural, urban features in Willamette riverfront park

By Ed Russo
The Register-Guard
June 4, 2018

Eugene residents want a mix of urban and natural features in the planned Willamette riverfront park on the east edge of downtown.

City officials are soliciting ideas from the public to help create the park on a narrow stretch of the former Eugene Water & Electric Board utility yard next to the river. The 3-acre park, across the Willamette River from Alton Baker Park, is a key piece in the city’s plan to redevelop 16 acres of former EWEB property into a vibrant urban area.

About 100 people attended a meeting on May 24 to share their views on what they want to see in the park. Residents spoke with landscape architects from Walker Macy, the Portland firm hired by the city to develop a design concept by September. An online survey, taken by more than 700 people, also is being used to gather public opinion. The survey is open until June 14.

Presently, the only public access to the property is a bike path that runs along the steep, tree-and-brush-covered edge of the riverbank, about a dozen feet above the river.

EWEB earlier had agreed to donate the 3-acre property for the park, and the city agreed to spend at least $3 million to develop it. EWEB, a publicly owned utility, has agreed to pay $250,000 to the city for maintenance of the park.

Emily Proudfoot, the city’s manager for the park project, said residents want the park to be developed so they can “see and connect with the Willamette River in ways that they can’t do now.”

To do that, most people have said they want the park to include a combination of urban and natural features.

“Respondents are saying that they want an active, safe and fun place to bring their families and kids, and to include public art and history as important aspects of the design,” Proudfoot said. “In general, we are reaffirming that the community wants an urban riverfront park in downtown Eugene.”

The city plans to hold a meeting on July 19 for residents to comment on designs developed by Walker Macy. A final concept is expected to be finished by Sept. 27.

Meanwhile, two public events this month will gather public opinion about the city’s plans to develop much of the 16-acre property, which it purchased last month from EWEB for $5.7 million.

Last week, city officials said they have agreed to terms with Portland-based Williams/Dame & Associates to redevelop about half of the former utility yard.

Under the proposed deal, Williams/Dame would pay about $2.7 million for the unimproved land and commit to build 215 apartments, 70 townhouses and a 125-room hotel on it. The city would lease to Williams/Dame two parcels for 14,000 square feet of commercial space and a restaurant.

The other half of the former EWEB property would be developed for an affordable housing project, streets, a public plaza and other uses.

On June 20, Williams/Dame representatives will share their ideas with the public in an open house in EWEB’s north headquarters building.

On June 25, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the city’s proposed redevelopment agreement with Dame/Williams.

Separately, the city is seeking a buyer to redevelop the vacant steam plant, which Williams/Dame did not want to buy.

Williams/Dame led the redevelopment of the Pearl and South Waterfront Districts in Portland, as well as a neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles. The design team for the Eugene property includes SERA Architects of Portland, which designed the Tate condominiums near West 13th Avenue and Olive Street, and the renovation of the Erb Memorial Union at the University of Oregon.

What’s next

Two public meetings will be held in June to provide information and get comments on plans to redevelop the former Eugene Water & Electric Board property along the Willamette River.

June 20: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Williams/Dame and city staff will present information at an open house at EWEB’s north headquarters community room, 500 E. Fourth Ave.

June 25: 7:30 p.m. Public hearing before City Council, acting as Urban Renewal Agency, in Harris Hall, 125 E. Eighth Ave., on proposed development agreement with Williams/Dame.

For information: eugene-or.gov/riverfront

Spring 2018 Practicum Student Steven Liang

Under the mentorship of Frank Visconti, University of Oregon student Steven Liang completed a Spring practicum with Rowell Brokaw. The purpose of the practicum is for the student to gain exposure to the many facets of real-life projects at an architecture firm. Among other experiences, Steven went on site visits and attended OAC meetings at Pacific HallAmazon Corner, and the South Hills House. He also gained knowledge of the latest architectural practices used in offices. "I give credit to Frank," he said, "because he's really good at many programs, such as Lumion, Revit, and VR." Steven also worked on an entry for the AIA-SWO Design Awards and "learned how to put a large chunk of information together in a presentation." He enjoyed the firm culture, which he described as "open" and "collaborative." Steven will graduate with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon in July. 

1203 Willamette Before and After


Central to the re-envisioning of 1203 Willamette was the idea of opening up the facade to the street via garage doors and windows, revealing the interior wood structure, and allowing daylight to penetrate the building. The intention is to create a welcoming exterior and connective interior through transparency and warmth.  

UO Straub Hall Art Blessing

Artist Garrick Imatani spoke at the Blessing Ceremony for the installation of his artwork at UO Straub Hall. The installation includes a sculpture of the Tomanowas (Willamette Meteorite), sacred to the Clackamas (now part of the Grand Ronde tribe), that floats in front of a mural of the Missoula Floods. This installation is part of the Percent for Art project by the state of Oregon. For more on the installation, see Sculpture of Meteorite Installed in Straub Hall Atrium.

Architects in Schools 2018

Britni Jessup demonstrates model making techniques to students at the Buena Vista Spanish Immersion School.

Operated through the Architecture Foundation of Oregon (AFO) organization, Architects in Schools (AIS) is a statewide, six-week residency program for elementary and middle schools where students and classroom teachers work directly with practicing architects and other design professionals with the goal of developing awareness and understanding of the designed and built environment.

This year Britni Jessup and Nicola Fucigna worked with 4th grade classroom teachers Sarah Knudsen and Norina Vazque at the Buena Vista Spanish Immersion School. For the overarching classroom project, they had students develop innovative learning spaces in the style of a famous architect. Students researched their architects alongside exploring the programmatic and user needs of a learning space. They answered such questions as “How would my architect treat the walls, roof, and overall massing? What materials would my architect use? How does this effect the users’ experience?” At the end of the project, students built models of their learning spaces with removable roofs to expose the interiors.

Austin Bailey worked with 4th grade classroom teacher Jonny Hellner at Willagillespie Elementary. Their final project combined Northwest Coast history and architecture. Each student designed a "Tillamook House," a Native American dwelling.

PV 4 BV Solar Initiative and DisOrient Film Festival

When possible, Rowell Brokaw enjoys sponsoring projects and events in Eugene. One project that has been completed in time for Earth Day is the installation of solar panels (or photovoltaic cells) on the roof of Buena Vista Elementary School. The school was awarded a grant from EWEB's Greenpower program for their "PV 4 BV Solar Initiative" project, which will give "real time" energy data in the classroom to support class projects. Here's an educational video (both in English and in Spanish) developed alongside the project by Attic Media:

Another event, that we are very proud to help sponsor, is occurring this weekend: the DisOrient Film Festival. Here is the festival's mission: "DisOrient is the premiere Asian American, social justice film festival of Oregon. Our films—'By us, for us and about us'—break open the one-dimensional stereotype of the 'Oriental.' We believe in the power of film to inform, heal and connect people. We bring power to our voice as we share our stories and advocate for social justice."

Hope to see you at the event and Happy Earth Day!

Soft Opening of Claim 52 at 1203 Willamette

After finishing the move to our new office, we walked downstairs to Claim 52 Brewing for their soft opening. When Rowell Brokaw was deciding whether to develop and renovate the building, we saw Capstone Apartments, which is situated directly across the street, as this project’s biggest liability. But in the end, we decided to go forward with the project. From an architectural and urban design perspective, Capstone is a sad and sorry example, but it has, on a positive note, brought a large number of residents to this part of downtown. Ultimately, we must move on, repair the damage, renew, and move forward. We think 1203 Willamette is a step in the right direction.

Rowell Brokaw worked on several tenant improvements for the new building, including Claim 52, the office of Watkinson Laird Rubenstein, PC, and our own new office. The TI for Claim 52 emphasized the building's timber frame with its exposed wood columns and ceilings and its board-formed concrete walls. The floors have a lot of character--the original fir flooring is a softwood that retains all the scrapes and dings from the years. Garage roll-up doors create a strong indoor-outdoor connection. The space is very efficient, with a cooler in the basement, a compact kitchen, and an event room. Systems were carefully integrated into the exposed timber structure. For more on Claim 52, see this article in the Register-Guard.

Blum's Age Explorer Suit

Throughout the year, Rowell Brokaw has Lunch 'n Learns, in which reps come from various building industries to educate the firm on their latest products and services. Recently reps from E.B. Bradley Company of Portland showed us the Blum product line. They also brought along Blum’s Age Explorer Suit, which simulates aging 30+ years. Blum developed this suit to aid in their designs: their engineers experience firsthand what a 70+ year old goes through with something as simple as opening a cabinet. This understanding informs the function, motion and technology in their hardware. Blum has developed a series of motion technologies, lift systems, concealed hinges, runner systems and more.

Britni Jessup, a brave soul, donned the Age Explorer Suit to perform some basic daily tasks in front of the RB team. Despite the weighted jumpsuit, the prickly gloves (to stimulate carpal tunnel syndrome), the noise cancelling headphones, and the fogged glasses, Britni managed surprisingly well. The suit was a vivid way to heighten our awareness of the need to design for aging in place.

Concrete Pour for Tykeson Hall

On March 19 from 12:30 AM until 9 AM, Fortis Construction poured the 30" thick slab for the foundation of Tykeson Hall. It took 130 concrete trucks--1300 yards of concrete--to make the slab!

Market District Townhomes featured in Register-Guard

Article in the Register-Guard

By Elon Glucklich
The Register-Guard
March 18, 2018

At the southern base of Skinner Butte sits the historic Shelton-McMurphey-­Johnson House, built in the 1880s, the Ya-Po-Ah Terrace senior living tower, built in the 1960s, and an apartment complex built in the 1970s.

Now a group of local developers hopes to add a touch of modern living to the base of the butte with the first new construction around the Eugene landmark in nearly a half-century.

Eugene development consultant Mark Miksis, attorney Rick Larson and property manager Jim St. Clair have been working behind the scenes for more than two years on their Market District Townhomes project.

They plan to fit 20 townhouses on a 1.7-acre lot between the base of Skinner Butte and Shelton McMurphey Boulevard, immediately west of the 1 West Fourth apartment complex. Street work could begin later this spring, Miksis said, with construction on the first six townhouses starting soon after.

“Our goal is to start in the next several months,” he said. “It’s an amenity-rich neighborhood, close to downtown, Fifth Street Public Market, lots of dining.”

Amid Eugene’s multi-year housing boom, developers have been racing to fill out the north and west edges of the city with large single-family subdivisions.

But for projects closer to downtown, builders are increasingly targeting available land for dense apartment developments.

The townhouse project fits into a different market altogether, with units being purchased instead of leased. Eugene has hardly seen any new townhouses or condos built over the last decade.

But Miksis feels Market District Townhomes will fill an underserved niche in the city.

“It’s an opportunity to actually own a home, not like a condo where you don’t own the ground, and not an apartment,” he said. “And maybe most important is the location.”

Miksis has had his finger­prints on some major local projects in recent years, including Crescent Village in northeast Eugene, several University of Oregon-area student apartments and the ongoing renovation of the former Oregon Antique Mall building at Willamette Street and 12th Avenue downtown.

Larson, meanwhile, has been a member of limited liability companies owning the Shelton McMurphey Boulevard site dating back to 2000. But he, Miksis and St. Clair formed Skinner’s Landing LLC in February 2016, and Miksis filed planning documents with the city of Eugene outlining the Market District Townhomes project a few months later.

Miksis declined to discuss financial details about the project.

The group has tapped Eugene homebuilder Jordan Iverson to construct the first phase of the project: six two-bedroom townhouses, each between 1,400 and 1,800 square feet, with terraces facing south toward Spencer Butte.

Prices would tentatively range from $450,000 to $650,000, Iverson said. Each unit would include a one or two-car garage accessed from a new interior street extending off Shelton McMurphey Boulevard.

Construction should take seven to nine months once the street work is complete, Iverson said.

The remaining 14 units would be built in two or three subsequent phases, according to preliminary information about the project. Those plans include four three-bedrooms units of 1,500 square feet or more, plus rooftop gardens, and 10 three-bedroom units with 2,500 square feet of space at the north edge of the property, at the base of Skinner Butte.

Buildout of the future phases would be based on how quickly townhouses sell in the first phases, Miksis said, and the overall housing demand once phase one is complete.

But Miksis said it’s easy to be bullish on the growing concept of a “Market District” in the area between Skinner Butte and Sixth Avenue, largely spearheaded by Fifth Street Public Market owner Brian Obie’s plan for a $60 million expansion of the shopping center, which Obie announced this month.

The Eugene City Council, meanwhile, is discussing millions of dollars in upgrades at 10 downtown-area railroad crossings so trains wouldn’t have to repeatedly blast their horns to alert pedestrians and motorists.

Developers have long blamed the horns for depressing demand for new housing in the area.

Market District Townhomes would be built north of Fourth Avenue, near railroad tracks, several crossings and the Eugene Amtrak station.

And Miksis sees the townhouse project fitting in naturally with the proposed Eugene Water & Electric Board riverfront redevelopment, which could add hundreds of downtown apartments and 70 to 80 townhouse units, plus 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, all a half-mile east of the Market District Townhomes site.

“We have the (railroad) quiet zone being discussed, we have Obie’s project and the EWEB riverfront project — this location keeps improving,” Miksis said. “So this is an opportunity to offer this type of housing in an area where there’s just a lot happening.”

Frank Visconti Bringing New York to Eugene

Article in the Eugene Weekly

By Bob Keefer
Eugene Weekly
March 8, 2018

Urban Delight: A New York architect sees Eugene with fresh eyes

Writing sometime around the year 30 B.C., the Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio — Vitruvius, to his friends — laid out, in his foundational work De Architectura, three principles that should inform all architecture: firmitasutilitasand venustas.

More than 2,000 years later, Eugene architect Frank Visconti translates those Latin terms as “firmness,” meaning that a building is structurally sound; “commodity,” meaning that it’s functional; and “delight.”

“That’s the joy that one gets out of it,” Visconti says.

Visconti, who works at Rowell Brokaw Architects in Eugene, came here two and a half years ago from New York City, drawn by that Vitruvian factor he found here in Oregon.

“I am a New Yorker in every sense of the word,” he says. “And I think Eugene is very delightful. It has all the elements of an urban experience, but on such a tiny scale — 160,000 people versus 11 million. Everything here is only 15 minutes away.”

I called Visconti to ask him a couple questions about design in general and about the quality of architecture he sees in Eugene.

Is design generally appreciated by the public? I wanted to know.

To my surprise, he says “yes.”

“I do think it’s appreciated on many levels,” he says. “Some of them might be more subversive or more obvious.”

On the largest scale, he says, architecture defines the entire urban experience. “It influences the amount of sunlight that comes into the streets and the open spaces,” he says. “It has to do with the quality of materials. And it has been important since the built environment was conceived as a bigger idea.”

On a smaller scale, he says, architecture influences what you see out your bedroom window. “You want light and air,” he says. “You want the window facing a certain direction. Something as simple as orientation to the sun is important to design.”

The killer question: Is Eugene ugly, as so many critics claim?

“I find it a vibrant place,” he says. “Though there’s certainly lots of potential.”

Visconti expanded on that idea in an interesting direction.

Eugene has long lived with the legacy of 1970s redevelopment, in which many older downtown buildings were demolished to make way for what would ultimately be a failed pedestrian mall.

In most accounts, that was an architectural disaster, replacing the elegance of history with the prefab look of more-modern buildings. Not so for Visconti.

Eugene, he says, “is a time capsule of the ’70s in some ways. It’s very clean and well taken care of. It’s a slice of time rooted in 30 or 40 years ago.”

More broadly, he describes Eugene as embracing a style that might be called “optimistic modern.”

“It’s a start-up city,” he says, and then mentions the best-selling 1989 computer game SimCity, in which the player controls the development of a virtual city. “Eugene is the early stage of a Sim city.”

The city does have potential yet unrealized.

“It has a vibrancy that’s rooted in Broadway and Willamette Street and the Hult Center,” he says. “And it has the Whit — a fantastic neighborhood, a classic bohemian edgy part of town where there is a lot of culture and personal expression.”

The biggest issue that needs solving, he says, is housing.

“The city should do whatever it can to promote more market-rate and affordable housing so that more people live downtown.” 

Register-Guard Article on The Female Entrepreneurs in 1203 Willamette

Article in the Register-Guard

By Ed Russo
The Register-Guard
March 5, 2018

Four women-owned businesses are about to bring life to a previously moribund part of Eugene’s signature street.

The businesses — Claim 52 Kitchen, Katie Brown clothing, Saucefly Market/Bar, and Blue Bird Flowers — are preparing to open during the next several weeks in the newly renovated building at 1203 Willamette St.

“The location on Willamette Street is ideal,” said Jeannine Parisi, co-owner of Claim 52 Brewing in Eugene, a craft brewer that is opening its first restaurant/taproom combination. “We are part of a project that will wake this whole block up.”

The building makeover is the latest in a series of downtown improvement projects that began with the 2010-11 renovation of the former Centre Court Building, now Broadway Commerce Center, at Broadway and Willamette Street. Since then, more than two dozen buildings in the city center have been built or renovated, according to Denny Braud, executive director of Eugene’s planning and development department.

The 36,000-square-foot Willamette Street structure, east of the massive 13th and Olive student apartment complex, is composed of two identical adjacent two-story buildings constructed during the 1940s for Lyons Furniture.

It had been used by Oregon Antique Mall for 25 years until it was emptied and purchased in 2017 for $2 million by a group of investors, including architects John Rowell and Greg Brokaw, downtown espresso shop owner Kaz Oveissi and development consultant Mark Miksis.

After the $4 million, nearly year-long renovation designed by Rowell Brokaw Architects, the structure has been dramatically changed. Its plain, graffiti-marred concrete and metal facade has been replaced with Douglas fir siding, black metal awnings and large windows that roll up like garage doors. A cantilevered roof that was made from Douglas fir boards salvaged in the renovation extends from the roof line.

Inside, false ceilings have been removed to reveal wooden beams.

After years of being covered by carpets, the original Douglas fir floors are being refinished to show their previous beauty.

The building is connected to the high-speed fiber network that was installed by the Eugene Water & Electric Board as part of a city-funded initiative.

The building is almost fully leased, though all of the tenants are in various stages of finishing their spaces and not yet moved in.

Rowell Brokaw will move a short distance from its present offices at East Broadway and Willamette Street and occupy a second-floor space. Watkinson Laird Rubenstein, a law firm, will move from East Broadway and Oak Street to occupy the other half of the second floor.

Trifoia, formerly Iris Education Media, plans to relocate from a building on East 10th Avenue, and lease about 4,000 square feet on the first floor.

The company’s 25 employees are eager to work in the mainly open office on a single floor, compared to their current mostly separate offices on two floors, said Galen Mittermann, director of finance, sales and marketing.

Trifoia produces research-based, mostly online training programs for educators and parents.

The firm’s new offices will help Trifoia attract new employees, Mittermann said. “We have seen this building sit vacant for awhile,” he said. The remodeling “makes it easier for us to attract talent, being in a fresh, new space and part of our downtown revitalization.”

But the women-owned businesses will be most visible to the public, occupying four of the five ground-floor retail spaces in the front of the building along Willamette Street. The fifth space has yet to be leased.

The $4 million renovation figure includes the landlord’s contribution to finishing the interior of leased spaces, but the tenants also are paying for improvements and equipment.

Here’s a rundown on the four signed tenants.

Claim 52 Kitchen

The craft brewer’s first brewpub with a kitchen and its own food service will occupy about 3,000 square feet and have seating for up to 125 people inside and another 35 outside during warmer months.

Claim 52 Brewing first started making beer six years ago in West Eugene, off Tyinn Street. In 2014, Claim 52 opened a small tap room, The Abbey, in the Sprout! Regional Food Hub, in downtown Springfield.

Neither outlet provides food to customers. The Abbey patrons can buy food from eateries elsewhere in the renovated former church and have it brought to them in the taproom. Customers at Claim 52 Brewing in West Eugene can buy from food trucks parked outside or bring their own.

“We understand the importance of having food with beer, of providing the balance,” Claim 52 co-owner Mercy McDonald said. “We see the difference (with food). Customers stay.”

Claim 52 Kitchen will have 15 taps, dispensing a variety of Claim 52 brews, including its best selling Fluffy IPA, plus wines, cider and kombucha from other providers on another nine taps.

The brewpub will operate similar to The Beer Stein, the popular bar and restaurant three blocks south on Willamette Street. Customers will order food and drink at a bar, and have their food delivered to them.

Lannon Cling, a South Eugene High School graduate who was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, is in charge of food.

“It’s going to be fun and approachable pub food, with an eye on creativity,” said Cling, who last operated The Dumpling Group food truck in Eugene. “I’m going to take what I have learned about pub food and apply what I know about fine dining to it.”

The planned menu has appetizers, such as garlic yucca tots; sandwiches, including “Croque Norvegien,” lox, emmental cheese on toasted brioche; and large plates,” such as chicken curry dumplings and different seasoned fried chicken drumsticks.

“We are going to do sandwiches, burgers and fries, all the usual suspects,” he said. “But everything will have a unique twist. Nothing will be boring.”

Customers will order beer and other beverages off a theater-style sign above the bar. Claim 52’s logo, created by Ali McQueen of Eugene, is featured on a wall mural painted by artist Justin Boggs, a UO graduate and Portland resident.

The logo has stylized images of the forest-covered south hills and Spencer Butte, plus the sun and moon, painted in shades of orange, blue, gray and black.

Claim 52 Kitchen is expected to open sometime in April.

Katie Brown

Katie Brown of Eugene sells her line of women’s clothing through a website, Katie Brown LA, and a Portland boutique, Adorn.

This month, Brown plans to open her own store — a 500-square-foot shop — in the renovated Willamette Street building.

A former restaurateur, Brown co-founded such Eugene restaurants as Red Agave, El Vaquero, Asado Grill and Asado Bistro. Brown started the restaurants with Sara Willis, who is opening Saucefly Market/Bar in a nearby retail space.

Brown said she’s looking forward to interacting with customers in her store.

“I so love the experience of having a physical location to come to and to create an in-person experience for (shoppers),” she said. “I missed that from the restaurant chapter of my life.”

Brown’s clothes are made in Los Angeles from sustainably sourced materials. She calls her dresses, skirts, tops and leggings “comfortable clothes that you feel great in.”

Her store, Katie Brown, will sell women’s clothes and accessories from other brands, too, plus men’s clothing from Save Khaki.

“I tested it on my 18-year-old son and he became addicted to the pieces,” Brown said. “I feel very comfortable that it’s going to be loved.”

Like the building’s other tenants, Brown had to wait for the renovation before she could start finishing the interior of her store.

She’s eager to open as soon as possible.

“It has been pushed back so many times before,” she said. “I have the merchandise and I am ready to go. I am very much looking forward to see it coming to life.”

Saucefly Market/Bar

Veteran Eugene restaurateur Sara Willis plans to feed as many people as possible from two places in the building.

The retail portion of Saucefly Market/Bar will be a 500-square-foot shop with seating for about 20 people, plus outside tables and chairs during warmer months.

Her retail outlet facing Willamette Street will be a combination restaurant and to-go food market.

The business will open in the morning, in time for downtown workers to buy coffee, fresh fruit, granola, freshly made banana bread and other items.

For lunch and dinner, customers will be able to buy hot items, including enchiladas, as well as sandwiches, salads and soups.

Willis also is leasing an 800-square-foot room in the back of the building. About half of that room will be occupied by a kitchen, where she will prepare the food for sale in the upfront retail space.

Willis will use the other half of the space as a dining room for private events and “pop-up dinners” for up to two dozen people.

In a pop-up dinner, customers who regularly get information about Willis’ latest culinary offerings through text messages or Instagram, will get notifications that later in the day she will serve specified items and drinks during a certain time.

For example, she might serve tacos and $5 beers from 8 p.m. until midnight, she said.

“I think it’s fun if people can handle it,” Willis said. “I hope I will have enough people who will be interested in that. I think I do.”

During the past 16 years, Willis has helped start such restaurants as Red Agave, El Vaquero, Asado and Carmelita Spats.

Willis is counting on carry-out items to appeal to downtown employees, including office workers elsewhere in the building, who may want to grab a lunch or something for dinner on the way home.

“You will be able to pick up fresh organic tortillas, some salsas, and shredded organic chicken and go home and make tacos,” she said.

Willis also hopes to attract downtown residents, including college students who live in the 13th/Olive complex across the street.

The market will sell beer, wine and spirits. Willis’ own line of mixers will be available for sale.

She said her outlet will be a similar, smaller version of Provisions, the gourmet food shop and eatery in the basement of Fifth Street Public Market.

“You will be eating within the shopping experience,” she said.

The floor of the store and backroom will be decorated with inlaid tile that Willis had made in Mexico. Willis said there’s significance to starting a business in a building at the same time as other women.

“It’s an example showing other young women entrepreneurs that they can do it,” she said.

Blue Bird Flowers

Vanessa Rover figures the time is right to start her first business doing what she likes best — working with flowers.

In April she plans to open Blue Bird Flowers, a stand in the lobby of 1203 Willamette St. She hopes office workers and customers of the restaurants and retail shops in the building will buy her flowers. She will have flowers in front of the building to attract other customers.

The building is “on a pretty heavily trafficked street, and I hope that people walk by and see all the beautiful flowers outside and want them,” she said.

Blue Bird Flowers will make downtown deliveries.

Rover wants to sell arrangements made with as many flowers and plants as possible from local and Northwest growers.

“There are certain things that thrive in Oregon,” she said. “Dahlias do real well here.”

Rover has worked with flowers since she was a teenager in San Diego.

“There is not a flower that I don’t like,” she said. “I’m just drawn to them. They are beautiful and they make people feel good. You don’t have a choice when you look at a flower.”

She’s worked in dozens of flower shops in southern California and Eugene, including Rhythm & Blooms.

She’s also been a bartender for the last 15 years.

Her friend Katie Brown, who is opening a clothing store in the building, suggested that she open the flower business.

Rover has been working three jobs — two as a bartender and one as a liquor delivery person — to help pay for the business.

The 36-year-old single mom will operate the stand with her 16-year-old son, Andrew.

With her son now old enough to help her, they both decided, “Let’s take the risk together,” Rover said.

The Palomino Blackwing 602

Architects are passionate about pens and pencils: their heft, smoothness, mark. For many, they hold a talismanic power. After heated debate in the office, the Palomino Blackwing 602 has emerged as a staff favorite.

Invented in 1934 by the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, the Blackwing 602 has gained a kind of cult status. With its catchy slogan “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed” and its, according to Wikipedia, “unique softness and smoothness of a 3B/4B lead but with the rate-of-wear of an HB,” the Blackwing 602 became the pencil of choice for many artists. To name a few: animators Chuck Jones (think Bugs Bunny) and Don Bluth (of Disney fame); writers John Steinbeck, Truman Capote, Vladimir Nabokov, and E.B. White; and composers Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Aaron Copland. Even John Lennon was rumored to use a Blackwing 602. In the late 1990s after the machine that made the metal clip for the ferrule and eraser broke, the Blackwing 602 was discontinued. Prices surged. On eBay originals went for over $50. Luckily, in 2011 the Blackwing 602 was brought back on the market. Palamino, a division of the California Cedar Products Company, bought the brand.

Ever wonder how a pencil is made? Here’s an article from the New York Times with vivid pictures and a video from the General Pencil Company on the History Channel.

Live Web Cam of UO Tykeson Hall

Over winter break at the University of Oregon, Fortis Construction began to excavate the site for Tykeson Hall. They jump-started this process in order to minimize disruptions on campus. Now excavation has been completed and work on the foundation will begin. For live updates on construction, see the College of Arts and Sciences' website. Their menu also has a link for construction time-lapses.