Unique affordable housing proposed for old LCC downtown campus site

The City of Eugene is seeking community feedback on a proposed affordable housing development that would replace the old Lane Community College downtown campus that has laid vacant since 2013.

Posted: Apr 1, 2021 4:11 PM
Updated: Apr 2, 2021 1:12 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The City of Eugene is seeking community feedback on a proposed affordable housing development that would replace the old Lane Community College downtown campus that has been vacant since 2013. 

The city purchased the site on 1059 Willamette Street last year with federal funds requiring that the development that replaces it be mixed-income, a first-of-its-kind model for our area.

One proposal the city has received is to develop the site for a mixed-use building called the Montgomery. The developers say it would include incubator retail spaces on the ground floor, a public gallery in the lobby and would fit the character of the neighborhood.

Of the apartment units, 66 will be for households making 80 percent or less of the area's average median income and 63 would be rented at the market rate.

"Having market rate with income-qualified units encourages housing mobility. So having the units coexist in the same building encourages that stability and mobility for households to move from income-qualified to market rent," said Eugene business development analyst Amanda D'Souza.

Ten units would also be set aside for victims of domestic violence in partnership with the nonprofit Womenspace.

According to D'Souza, mixed-income developments target members of the community who don't make enough for market-rate rents, but also don't qualify for traditional affordable housing.

"Adding new options with a range of affordability can really relieve pressure on the stock of the lowest income housing options that usually have the highest demand in our city, which I think we all see right now," she said. "This is really targeting those households that wouldn't qualify for typical affordable housing which is at 60 percent AMI or less, but that also want to live in the urban core. This site is so extremely well placed."

D'Souza said that 80 percent of Eugene's average median income for a one-person household is $31,400, while a four-person household would sit at $56,000. The developer has proposed that an income-qualified 568-square-foot one-bedroom unit would cost $1,050 each month. A market-rate 576-foot one-bedroom would go for $1,530 monthly.

The city is looking for feedback from the community about the proposed development, which can be submitted on Engage Eugene through April 9. The city council will review the responses during their April 28 work session.

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