FIRST ON BROADWAY ADAPTIVE RE-USE

Rowell Brokaw Architects, PC

FOB

This adaptive reuse project transforms an existing building into a major mixed-use apartment and retail presence in downtownEugene. The upper floor converted office space to 16 units of rental apartment housing includes two two-story loft apartments with two bedrooms and two baths each. The rest of the second floor is a mix of studios, one and two-bedroom units, and includes some of Eugene’s first micro-studio units. These smaller units have private patios, tall ceilings, and some have storage lofts. The retail level was outfitted for a major restaurant tenant on the corner, with other entertainment-oriented uses along Broadway, in what is becoming the restaurant and entertainment heart of Eugene. Ground-floor tenants include the First National Taphouse, the Bijou Metro movie theater, and Townshend’s Tea House.

The skin on the building is an exterior insulated finish rain screen system with a stucco appearance, rainscreen wood siding, and aluminum curtain wall storefront glazing with clear glass. Steel horizontal canopies are at the Broadway Willamette corner of the building, and metal awnings shelter the remaining storefront windows, while strengthening the urban street edge, providing pedestrian shelter, and reinforcing the vertical bays of the building.

The “Taco Time” building was an unlikely candidate for positive change in downtown Eugene. The building is a collage of periods, materials, and buried history. The transformed First on Broadway builds on this collage, creating new uses and a new character.Under its 1970s skin, the shell and structure was a ruin of historical fragments, including remnants of Eugene’s first brick building, inserted concrete vaults from the 1930s and timber floors from many eras.  In the 1970s, the perimeter was reconstructed in steel and concrete masonry to alter the historic proportions and ape the style of “baby brutalism”.

EVOLUTION OF A BUILDING

Master Development boldly rethought this building and what it could be. They directed the architects to create the hippest housing units possible out of a single uneven floor of Class D office space. They partnered with a brew pub, a movie theater, a popular teahouse —and arriving soon—Starbucks. Success hinged on a laser-like focus—with a handful of interventions
that created the transformational value. 

THE PROCESS OF ADAPTIVE REUSE

First, make use of the concrete bank vault and defunct concrete mechanical loft. This became two 2-story townhouse lofts and a brew pub. Next, carve out a light well to serve six of Eugene’s first micro-housing units. These units now generate the highest rent per square foot in all of Eugene. 

Finally, re-proportion and re-clad the facade, move the retail storefronts to the street, introduce clerestories at the corner tenant space, add wood, metal awnings, steel canopies, stucco and sprinkle with pedestrian sidewalk amenities. 

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