Vancouver, Washington, had lost sight of its connection to the Columbia River. But a 35-acre redevelopment plan will connect the city to the river within the city’s historic core, mixing in residential, commercial and parkland as part of an ambitious plan to reimagine a waterfront blocked to the public for over 100 years.
The City of Vancouver has partnered with private investors, led by Gramor Development, and the Port of Vancouver to devise a $1.5 billion master plan for development along the waterfront west of the Interstate 5 Bridge. The project, currently underway, will have 3,300 residential units, about 1 million square ft of office space and retail space for restaurants, specialty shops and services once all completed. From an 11-story condo tower to a new eight-story Hotel Indigo, the site will mix residential with commercial throughout. You will also find a new seven-acre park that will provide a waterfront trail for connection to the river, connection through the site and connection beyond the development.
The old Boise-Cascade mill site along the river just west of the former Red Lion Inn at The Quay has already seen a first phase of construction start in summer 2016. Phase two started in January, focused on the park. Both phases should wrap sometime in summer 2018.
The 7.3-acre park will integrate public open spaces with a more natural river edge and park landscapes. The design incorporates the fluctuating character of the Columbia River, the site’s cultural history and public art. Expect year-round access, flexible spaces for activities and events and a connection to downtown.
A key water-focused feature of the new park and development comes in the form of a new Grant Street Pier, a cable-stayed pier designed to jut out and over the Columbia River. That project should wrap up sometimes in 2017.
The Port of Vancouver gets in on the redevelopment with an upgrade to Terminal 1. Immediately adjacent to the current Interstate 5 Bridge, the port’s plan for its 10 acres on the river includes a mix of residential, retail and commercial office space to compliment the work of Gramor, immediately next door. Demolition started in March on the Red Lion to make way for a new AC by Marriott, a 160-room hotel with convention space.
With so much movement planned and ongoing for the Vancouver Waterfront, expect new connections to materialize throughout 2018.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.