Artwork from Mitco Investments
A deal between the city of Hermiston and Mitco Investments will spur public and private development along South First Place.
Mitco plans to build a 5,000-square-foot event pavilion between Locust Avenue and Orchard Avenue by June 1, 2018. The Maxwell Marketplace will feature restrooms, roll-down glass doors and a 65-space parking lot.
Mitch Myers of Mitco Investments said the space could host everything from a farmer’s market to a car show to Oktoberfest.
“There are just a lot of great ideas being thrown at us,” he said.
The Hermiston City Council approved a letter of intent Monday, pledging $220,000 toward the project in exchange for the lease to a parcel of land across from the police station where the city plans to build a skate park, as well as an agreement from Mitco to allow the public free use of the parking lot at the Maxwell Marketplace.
New businesses locating within 500 feet of the parking lot will be able to count the lot as the parking they are required by city ordinance to provide, a requirement that Mark Morgan, assistant city manager, said has created barriers to new development.
Morgan said the city already owned a small triangle of land across from the police station to build a planned skate park, but it would be small with no parking. The rest of the land along the railroad tracks between Orchard Avenue and the Hermiston School District maintenance shed is leased by Mitco Investments from Union Pacific Railroad. When Mitco gives up the lease to the city, it will allow for a larger skate park as well as parking and landscaping along the entire stretch.
One of the city’s community enhancement goals was making the area along the railroad tracks more visually appealing. The agreement between Mitco and the city also requires Mitco to landscape the parcel that will contain the Maxwell Marketplace, and requires an 8-foot right of way through the property to be maintained for a future extension of Hermiston’s trail system.
The $220,000 will come from the community enhancement reserve fund, Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency and transient room tax.
Myers said Hermiston’s origins as two separate cities on either side of the railroad tracks created a gap through the middle of town, but in recent years he has worked to close that gap. Myers owns Nookie’s Restaurant and Hermiston Brewing Company next to the tracks, sold land to build the Holiday Inn Express and recently opened the Maxwell Siding Event Center. The Maxwell Marketplace will be the latest project that Myers said will help tie both sides of downtown together and bring more people and business to the downtown district.
“I think the future is bright for downtown,” he said.
Work on the parking portion of the project will begin this fall, with a groundbreaking for the pavilion in the spring and a goal for completion by June 1.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.