A commercial building will soon start rising in place of the burned-out Southtowne Lanes bowling alley. Building owner Larry Brabham applied for a permit from the city of Eugene last week , just over a year after a massive fire tore threw the iconic south Eugene structure, damaging it beyond repair. Brabham’s son, Larry Brabham Jr., said they hope to start construction “within the next 30 to 60 days.” Planning documents filed with the permit application show a one-story, 11,800-square-foot building on the Willamette Street lot between West 25th Avenue and West 24th Place, replacing the 15,000-square-foot bowling alley.
“Just the building shell will be about an eight-month project,” Brabham Jr. said. “By the time we get to the kinds of things like tenant buildouts and other things done, it will probably be next summer” that tenants open in the building.
The smaller footprint will allow for more parking spaces than the roughly 20-space lot that was on the Southtowne property, documents show.
Brabham Sr., who also owns a Springfield electrical contracting business, first revealed his plan in documents filed with the city’s Planning and Development Department in April. But the permit application moves the father-and-son development team closer to construction.
Brabham Jr. said the building could have as few as one or as many as seven tenants. They’ve hired a real estate broker to seek tenants.
The permit application lists the value of the new building’s shell at $1.7 million, a total that doesn’t include the cost of improvements such as interior walls and fixtures. Brabham Jr. declined to reveal the total development cost.
The new building will be similar in function to a pair of multitenant commercial buildings a block south of the bowling alley site. Those buildings house small restaurants such as Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Off the Waffle, Kung Fu Bistro and El Super Burrito, plus Great Harvest Bread Co., Metropol Bakery, a tanning salon and a hair salon.
To make way for the new structure, the Brabhams plan to demolish a 4,000-square-foot building they also own next to the bowling alley.
Down to Earth Home & Garden leased the smaller building, which suffered heavy smoke and water damage during the Southtowne blaze. Fire crews sprayed water from the roof of Down to Earth and a building just north of the bowling alley, owned and occupied at the time by Eugene Coin and Jewelry.
Brabham Jr. said in April that they explored buying the Eugene Coin and Jewelry building to expand the size of their commercial development. But they couldn’t agree on sale terms with the business’ owner, David Nelkin.
Nelkin sold the 1,800-square-foot building last month to a Eugene-based stove making company, SilverFire Disaster and Recreation Stoves & Cookware, for $429,000, according to a deed filed in Lane County.
Investigators last year said they could not determine the cause of the August 2015 Southtowne Lanes fire.
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