Saturday, September 25, 2010

Inn at the 5th

The Inn at the 5th's "virtual facade" (my photo)

Eugeneans turned out in force to celebrate yesterday but it wasn’t for the annual Eugene Celebration. That popular street fair took place last month. Rather, hundreds of revelers witnessed the unfurling of a full-size, virtual façade for the Inn at the 5th, which will be Eugene’s first new downtown hotel in almost thirty years.

Designed by TBG Architects & Planners of Eugene with GGLO, LLC of Seattle, the 68-room Inn at the 5th will be located at the Fifth Street Public Market in downtown Eugene. The Market’s owner, former Eugene mayor Brian Obie, envisions the new Inn as a “boutique” hotel, catering to a more upscale clientele looking for a “true experience.” If the new project is as successful as Obie hopes, it will inject some much needed panache into tragically unhip downtown Eugene.

Inn at the 5th (rendering by Richard Hoyen)

The $11.7 million Inn will be constructed at the northwest quadrant of the Market property, building upon the space vacated by the Nike Store upon its move to the Oakway Center. The new construction will rise to five stories on its south side and four stories on the others. Obie’s ambitious goal is to see construction completed by next summer, in time to accommodate visitors to the 2011 Oregon Bach Festival, which starts June 23.

I arrived on site at the event just moments after the 8,000-square-foot wrap was dropped over its scaffolding. Measuring 46 feet high at its tallest point, the virtual façade features life-size renderings of the elevations drawn by Portland artist Richard Hoyen. The wrap will stay in place throughout the Inn’s construction as a promise of what is to come. Certainly, it is a much more interesting and creative means to shroud the scaffolding and contain construction detritus than plain tarpaulins would have been.

TBG Architects & Planners model of the proposed hotel. The existing Fifth Street Market buildings to remain are to the left (my photo)

New development in downtown Eugene is a good thing in my book. Like many others who have longed for a vibrant downtown Eugene, I’m eager to see the Inn completed and doing its part to help revitalize the heart of our city. Brian Obie has hit the nail on the head with the concept of this high-end, boutique hotel.

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