Eugene selects deChase Miksis Development team to renovate downtown steam plant
By Elon Glucklich
August 28, 2018
Eugene officials are putting their faith in a group of prominent local developers, architects and business executives to transform the former Eugene Water & Electric Board steam plant.
The city announced Tuesday that it had picked a team led by Mark Miksis of deChase Miksis Development and Arcimoto CEO Mark Frohnmayer to submit a formal proposal for the 87-year-old steam plant’s redevelopment. City officials chose the team over two other groups that expressed interest earlier this year.
The Miksis group outlined plans in June to turn the long-vacant, 50-foot-tall steam plant into a vibrant retail, restaurant and office building with amenities such as a ground-floor tap room, business and classroom space, and a rooftop deck with prime Willamette River views.
Now the group has been asked to submit a detailed plan for the renovation, which it estimates costing between $18 million and $25 million. The group and the city hope to finish the project in time for the 2021 World Track & Field Championships, along with a wider transformation of the former EWEB operations yard by Portland-based Williams/Dame & Associates.
“The people we have on this team have been working on this project a long time, so we’re not coming in cold,” Miksis said. “This team goes back to 2015, when we were looking at a possible plan for the steam plant. We do have a lot of good ideas and a fair understanding of the challenges in the building, and we’re definitely excited for having the opportunity.”
Miksis’ development team also includes deChase Miksis Development partner Dean Papé, Rowell Brokaw Architects executives John Rowell and Greg Brokaw, Falling Sky Brewing owner Rob Cohen, Arcimoto Vice President Jesse Fittipaldi, retired architect and historic preservation specialist Don Peting, and Technology Association of Oregon Vice President Matt Sayre, as well as Jason Thompson, principal with Portland-based Catena Consulting Engineers.
Miksis has helped spearhead several large projects in Eugene, including Crescent Village’s commercial core in the northeast part of the city, the Northwest Community Credit Union building across East Sixth Avenue from the steam plant and the recent major remodel of a former retail building on Willamette Street into a dining, retail and office building.
His group’s submission to the city included statements of creditworthiness from two financial institutions. Miksis said his group is now looking into the feasibility and cost of various plans for the steam plant, which EWEB decommissioned in 2012 after building it in 1931 to house steam boilers and turbines.
The building is in poor condition, with broken windows, peeling paint and a laundry list of overdue upkeep.
“There’s a lot of due diligence yet to occur on this,” Miksis said, “but I think the city felt we had the best grasp of the opportunities and limitations of this project and the best ability to execute on the project by 2021.”
The city plans to hold community forums in the fall to get input on the project, Eugene business development analyst Amanda D’Souza said. There’s no formal timeline for the development, but the city hopes to have a clearer sense of the possibilities for the steam plant by the end of the year, she said.
We’re going to move as quickly as we can, but we also don’t fully understand the picture of what we’re walking into yet,” D’Souza said. “We’re starting that deep dive into the status of the building and figuring out exactly what they’re proposing.”