News | Oregon

Register-Guard: Friends of Civic Thrown Out

The Register Guard | Jan. 8, 2014 7 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 9, 2014 10:22 a.m. | Eugene, Oregon

Contributed By:

Josephine Woolington

Friends of Civic Stadium won’t be the next owner of the historic ballpark in south Eugene.

The Eugene School Board Wednesday night narrowed the pool of proposals to three offers that it will choose from when it selects a purchase offer for the school district’s Civic Stadium property.

Proposals from the city of Eugene; the Eugene Family YMCA and its development partners; and Fred Meyer remain in the game.

Board member Jim Torrey asked that the district send a thank-you card to the Friends group for its offer to buy the 10-acre property for $16.56 — the lowest offer the district received last month for the stadium near 20th Avenue between Willamette Street and Amazon Parkway.

The three remaining proposers will present their offers in more detail to the board in a private meeting next Wednesday. The City Council also is tentatively slated to discuss Civic Stadium at its work session next Wednesday.

The seven-member school board is expected to choose a proposal at its Feb. 19 meeting after reviewing the offers during a handful of public and nonpublic meetings scheduled this month and next.

The board reviewed the three surviving proposals with part of the district’s screening committee — made up of four district employees and a real estate consultant — in a private meeting Wednesday night after the public board meeting.

Supporters of the Eugene Family YMCA’s proposal have organized a rally scheduled for Jan. 18 at noon near the stadium.

During the public meeting Wednesday night, board members received an update on the proposals for the property, and several board members asked how much property tax revenue each offer would bring to the district.

Fred Meyer would pay $351,648 in annual property taxes to local governments, while $44,829 would go to the school district.

As a nonprofit agency, the YMCA does not pay property taxes, but the housing part of the Y’s proposal would generate $200,229 a year in property taxes to local governments and $25,526 would go to the school district.

Y Executive Director Dave Perez said previously that its current tax-exempt 2.4-acre property on Patterson Street would likely be sold and generate additional tax revenue, some of which would go to the school district.

The city of Eugene’s proposal would not generate any property tax revenue for the district, assuming the city will partner with a nonprofit group to develop, operate and maintain the stadium, district Facilities Director Jon Lauch said.

School board member Craig Smith asked how much the district would have to pay to destroy the stadium, which is proposed in both the Y’s and Fred Meyer’s offers.

If the district chose the Y’s offer, the district would have to pay the full demolition costs — which could total around $400,000, Lauch said. That doesn’t include the cost for an asbestos inspection, he said, or any costs associated with land use zoning changes.

“So, the Y’s offer of $4 million could be discounted by $400,000 or even $500,000,” Smith said.

Fred Meyer’s offer would cover all costs, including those to demolish the stadium, and would pay the district a non-refundable $10,000 per month during the land use approval process, Lauch said.

Last week, the school district released rankings from the screening committee, which recommended the district consider proposals from Fred Meyer, the city of Eugene and the Y.

Fred Meyer developer Peter Powell’s offer to pay the district $360,000 a year to lease the land for 20 years, with an option to buy it at the end of that period for an estimated $10.2 million to $11.2 million, received the highest score from the school district committee, which ranked the proposals largely on how much money they would bring to the district.

The city of Eugene’s $4.5 million to buy the land came in second, while Fred Meyer’s offer to purchase the property for $5 million, rather than lease it, came in third. The Eugene Family YMCA’s $4 million offer put it behind its competitors in fourth place.

Board chairwoman Mary Walston said at Wednesday’s meeting that the board is not bound by the committee’s rankings, but previously said the board will use the detailed review to help board members ask questions when evaluating the proposals.

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