EUGENE — How high is the demand for new University of Oregon student housing?
Apparently high enough to fill a 12-story apartment tower on what is now an empty lot on the northeast corner of East Broadway and Ferry Street.
A Chicago-based developer who specializes in student housing has submitted a preliminary inquiry to the city about building a student tower on the site.
The first floor of the structure would be mostly for commercial tenants, with the remaining 11 floors dedicated to apartments plus a fitness center and outdoor deck, according to the project narrative the developer submitted earlier this month.
The developer is Marc Lifshin, a partner in LG Development Group LLC. On its website, LG bills itself as “strongly focused on investments in education-related real estate, including student housing (acquisitions, redevelopments and new developments) and other campus-related real estate."
An arm of LG Development earlier this year broke ground on the first of two student-housing towers in Tempe, Ariz., near the Arizona State University campus. The 266-unit, 16-story first tower is due for occupancy next year, according to news reports and real estate industry websites. The second tower would be 18 stories, according to the reports.
The paperwork Lifshin has submitted to Eugene doesn’t say how many units the Eugene tower would have.
LG is just the latest entity to glom onto the UO enrollment boom. Numerous local and regional developers in the past several years have rushed to build student-housing complexes near the UO. Alabama-based Capstone is demolishing the former Eugene Clinic building, clearing the site to build a proposed 230-unit apartment block for students, the first phase of a proposed 475-unit complex.
The UO has seen steadily increasing enrollment, from 20,300 in 2007 to about 24,600 this fall.
The UO Office of Institutional Research projects that enrollment will peak at somewhere near 25,150 in the following years. But some UO officials have talked of eventually increasing enrollment beyond that, perhaps to 30,000.
The parcel on Franklin is small — a tad more than half an acre.
About two-thirds of it is owned by a Clatskanie family — the Venators — who acquired it more than two decades ago, according to Lane County property records. The remainder is owned by the Ceteras family of Rumsey, Calif., who acquired their portion also more than two decades ago, according to Lane County records.
The site has a Campbell Commercial Real Estate for-sale sign on it, with a sale-pending label plastered on the sign.
Dan Montgomery, the listing broker with Campbell, said a mix of commercial and residential housing is allowed under the commercial-2 zoning on the property.
He said the sale is in escrow with the parties sorting out the paperwork. He declined to identify the buyer.
The property previously housed a service station, which was torn down a number of years ago.
Twelve stories is big by Eugene standards. The Hilton hotel in the city center has 12 stories.
The proposed building would beat out some other prominent Eugene buildings: Prince Lucien Campbell Hall on the UO campus is a mere 10 stories. The Citizens Building on Oak Street in downtown is 10 stories.