Activity, Activity, Activity

That title sums it up well about what’s going on in Vancouver’s greater downtown area. It looks like Holland is finally getting started on Tower 4 at Vancouver Center, the construction fencing is up and one of the lanes on Washington Street is blocked for construction access. I believe that tower should go up pretty quick since all of the underground and infrastructure is already in place. Meanwhile the staging area on Block Ten looks ready as well.

Kirkland Tower and the Indigo Hotel are in ‘high-rise’ mode now as they raised the tower crane up to 250 feet recently. They should be working at a feverish pace because the FAA will only allow that crane at that height in that location until the early autumn.

IMG_20190304_120501.jpgI am still wondering why Cascadia Development seems to be motionless, “seems” is the operative word, I have no idea what they are doing behind the scenes regarding the Aria project at 6th and Esther. That project was originally called “The Esther” and was to rise 6 floors with a 144 units, but now has been renamed and will still rise 6 floors but only 127 units. All that has happened externally on this one is the erection of a pretty sign showing the rendering of the project.

The Columbian reported two weeks ago that Waterfront developer Gramor indicated the highly anticipated parking garage structure is on track for sooner, rather than later. 2021 is the new target date for completion. The beautiful weather brought thousands to the waterfront yesterday and all 4 blocks of surface parking were fairly packed. Sooner seems to be the better option. The article indicated the structure would have 740 spaces on 7 levels along with some retail/commercial space and would serve business and public interest at the waterfront. It is further reported it will have a pleasant looking design to flow with properties underway and built already. It is planned for Block 7 just north of the new Riverwest Apartment building.

I have mentioned over the last several months that the city needs to be mindful of our local homeless population. This is a sensitive subject and one that tests our very humanity. Many people due to either circumstances beyond their control or to their own poor choices, find themselves on the streets.

Last summer a very large group of homeless camps were concentrated in an area Downtown west of the County Government Center and east of the rail yard. That entire area was filled with hundreds of homeless tent sites and it was to say the least, a health risk area. That region is a very short walk to the new Waterfront as well as Esther Short Park. Millions of dollars of public funds have been used for infrastructure and tax incentives for redevelopment and it is imperative that we not allow these public spaces to be overrun with homeless and unsanitary conditions.

Much to my surprise, I noticed this weekend as I was driving around the area, nary a single tent was erected. The city is making a push to create a destination zone and that will fail should the area start looking like Portland’s waterfront. Perhaps Vancouver’s ambitious redevelopment of the former Fish and Wildlife office near Fourth Plain and Grand into a homeless shelter and service center has helped get many of these people off the streets. That is good for the homeless people and good for the downtown and new waterfront.

Things are looking good and that will bring companies, residents, tourists, and businesses to our bustling downtown region.


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