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City of Salem’s “Block 50 Project”

Written by Wyatt Jones on Mar. 20th, 2024
Featured Image photo for City of Salem’s “Block 50 Project”

The City of Salem has taken a significant step forward in its downtown revitalization efforts with the selection of Edlen & Co. and deChase Miksis as development partners for the ambitious Block 50 project. This initiative aims to transform one of downtown Salem’s largest undeveloped properties into a vibrant, mixed-use community hub, thereby marking a pivotal moment in the city’s quest to enhance housing and economic development. The redevelopment plan for Block 50, strategically located and bounded by Front St., Commercial St., Chemeketa St., and an ODOT access road, encompasses a two-phase development that will introduce a blend of market-rate and affordable multi-family housing, alongside retail spaces and public areas.

Salem Mayor Chris Hoy expressed enthusiasm for the project, highlighting its potential to act as a milestone in downtown revitalization and to inspire further development. The development team, chosen for their extensive experience in urban mixed-use projects and public-private partnerships across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, is expected to bring their expertise to bear on this project, aligning with the city’s objectives for a vibrant and sustainable urban core.

Block 50 is situated within the Riverfront-Downtown Urban Renewal Area, emphasizing its strategic importance to the Downtown Advisory Board and Salem Community Planning and Development Department. Kristin Retherford, Salem’s Community Planning and Development Director, remarked on the project’s significance in realizing a long-held vision for the area, aiming to inject new life and opportunities into the downtown core. The redevelopment efforts seek not only to revitalize the site but also to set a precedent for mixed-use, mixed-income housing development that integrates public open spaces while respecting the historical and cultural context of its surroundings.

The initiation of this project followed the Salem Urban Renewal Agency’s use of tax increment funds (TIF) to acquire and prepare the site, which included the demolition of underutilized buildings in compliance with historic and archaeological standards. The selection of Edlen & Co. and deChase Miksis in August 2023, following a request for letters of interest, was based on their alignment with the project’s goals and vision for downtown Salem. As Salem embarks on the Block 50 redevelopment project, it stands on the brink of a transformative phase in its downtown revitalization journey, setting a foundation for further growth and enhancing the livability and vibrancy of its urban core.

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