Holiday Cheer Abounds at 5th Street Public Market

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By Jenny Ulum, Public Affairs Counsel, Obie

The best place to find a little piece of the North Pole in Eugene is the historic 5th Street Public Market in the downtown Market District. Year-round the 5th Street Public Market is one of the area’s top tourist attractions, drawing visitors and locals alike to its charming mix of local retail stores, cafés, coffee shops, wine and beer purveyors, professional offices and the outstanding Inn at the 5th boutique hotel. But nothing quite beats the Market for the holidays.

Already known for its themed decorations and abundant flowers and plantings, the Market outdoes itself every holiday season. Starting with a tree-lighting at the Night of 1,000 Stars on the day after Thanksgiving and continuing through New Year’s Day, the Market is abuzz with holiday shoppers, seasonal music, pop-up entertainment, a Giving Tree, Santa’s Workshop and, perhaps best of all, nightly snowfall from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The Market is home to an eclectic collection of local and regional shops and restaurants where one-of-a-kind gifts and treats can be found. The chore of finding just the right gift is transformed into a joyful holiday experience where even the most frazzled shoppers can discover the spirit of the season.

Next holiday season the Market will be serving up double the joy. That’s because the Market Expansion currently under construction is expected to open in fall 2020, just in time for the holidays. Groundbreaking for the expansion was on Feb. 14, 2019. At the time, Casey Barrett, Obie Companies vice president, said the project would transform downtown Eugene. Obie Companies owns the 5th Street Public Market and is leading the Market Expansion project.

“We see the Market District evolving into a vibrant hub for the arts where there is always something new to discover and something going on to delight our residents and guests,” Barrett says. “Building on the programming already underway at the existing Market, the Expansion Project will provide new opportunities for people to browse, shop, sip and taste and to come together for events and celebrations.”

Sitting on a half-block west of the existing Market, the Expansion comprises the Gordon Hotel, Gordon Lofts apartments, and Market Retail building anchored by a Nike store. All three buildings will be connected by a 200-foot-long Market Alley, a heated, glass-covered pedestrian walkway 40 feet wide that will abound with cafés and shops, locally made products and pop-ups, entertainment and the occasional surprise. The Gordon Lofts apartments will have 127 units, adding much-needed housing and bringing more residents to the downtown core.

This is the largest private commercial development ever in downtown Eugene and certainly the largest project ever undertaken by Obie Companies. “Every holiday season is special but, at this defining moment in our company’s history, we are especially grateful for our blessings and aware of what a privilege it is to be able to give back to the community,” Barrett says.

With more than 1.5 million visitors a year, the 5th Street Public Market has been called one of the best-loved and most successful places downtown. Established as a poultry business in 1929, the property was reinvented as the Market in 1976 and has been owned by Obie Companies since 1981. In addition to the 5th Street Public Market District properties, Obie developed and manages the Inn at 500 Capitol in Boise, Idaho, which opened in 2017.

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