The Positive Activity Continues

Cascadia Development Partners got their bright red tower crane erected last week and construction on the Aria project is well underway. That project is in a great spot for tenants looking to capitalize on both the Waterfront and Esther Short Park. Looks like a nice project.

Kirkland topped out the Hotel Indigo a week or two ago and the Kirkland Tower Condo project is up to the ninth floor. They may be a bit under the gun as the FAA has only cleared them to use the 250 foot tower crane until the end of this month. They need to get the final floors done ASAP. Kirkland Tower is on my radar since it will be the first home ownership opportunity on the new waterfront. These units will not come cheap, but they will likely still sell quickly. This is a somewhat unique project as it looks like one large building it is actually two separate structures in a co-joined type arrangement. The 12 story Kirkland Tower will have access to some of the hotel services and amenities.

The Columbian had an article in yesterday’s paper about a tight office rental market in Vancouver. As I was reading the article I started to wonder why the heck Holland Partner Group scaled back the office tower portion of their project on Block Ten Downtown. The article continued on suggesting that despite the high demand and super low vacancy rates in Vancouver office buildings, developers are still playing it safe, often trying to get key anchor tenants lined up before pushing the project through the permitting process. That makes sense actually and it solidifies my earlier prediction that Holland may also be under a time issue to take advantage of incentives that expire soon. The taller project would certainly be a bit more time consuming.

Thursday the CCRA (City Center Redevelopment Authority) will meet and the city has the agenda posted. Nothing further on Block Ten, but I have seen them add stuff last minute, so I am watching closely for additional details. One thing on the agenda is further discussion about the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) issued by the City last month regarding the area now called ‘Waterfront Gateway’. This entire area is almost completely owned by Vancouver city government agencies and a sizable portion is being used as surface parking. I am hoping that this new development zone mandates structured parking for the public. Perhaps the CCRA will have more details on the future of this area. The city has a fast-track approach in the MOU to have preliminary work done this year and to select a ‘master developer’ in the first half of 2020. They also want to have a full master plan ready for approval by Q2, 2021.

The Columbian also had an article yesterday regarding a new effort to get things rolling on the Interstate Bridge Replacement. I have opined greatly on the subject and my concerns include the lack of respect for both the Columbia River and Vancouver’s Downtown by the Portland and Oregon officials. The last bridge design was hideous and devoid of character. Vancouver should not tolerate any bridge design that is ugly. The new project may have to be a concrete design but we can add some architectural style to offset the blight of a large concrete bridge. We have poured hundreds of millions of dollars in both public and private funds into the improvements to our wonderful waterfront, another two billion or so will flow in over the next several years, we cannot afford to ruin the beauty of the waterfront with a Frankenstein bridge!

Things are rolling right along in Urban Vancouver.

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