Good Activity for Mid-Winter

Across the full pricing spectrum several urban condo units went pending or closed last week. The dead of winter tends to be a little light on activity but not this year. From a modest studio condo with a mere 345 sf at Parkview priced at just $164,900 to a $2.5 million condo with 4290 sf closing at Tidewater. People are still interested in living  the urban lifestyle in Vancouver USA.

On the urban projects there seems to be little change this month on the official status of several large projects that are nearing the end of the permitting process. The city pushed through several smaller projects at the end of 202o and early 2021 but the final push on three large projects seems to be lagging a bit. Maybe COVID, maybe the fact that the council is down a meeting what with President’s Day a municipal holiday, we shall see. There are some unofficial activities that can offer a hint into the near future however of at least two projects. The three large projects I am referring to are all apartment buildings with 141, 177, and 227 units. These are Aegis at the Academy, Broadstone on block 17, The Waterfront, and ‘The Third’ formerly Timberhouse on block 3, The Waterfront. Broadstone has been eerily quiet since it was last present to the CCRA with seemingly favorable results. But I have seen unofficial signs of life on the other two.

The Third an 8 story 227 unit apartment tower that will occupy the entire block 3 at the waterfront is likely very close to breaking ground. Summit Development Group in Lake Oswego bought the block nearly two years ago and had originally planned a 12 story 254 unit CLT high-rise. CLT (cross laminated timber) has been an exciting new building method that is greener and sustainable, but also seen a few setbacks recently in both Portland and Vancouver. That may have been part of the delay and the shorter tower looks to be a more ‘traditional’ 5 wood frame over 3 concrete/steel base design.

There are signs this thing is coming sooner rather than later. I reached out to the project lead on this and will report any useful information I find. But the entire block has spent the last two years as a staging ground for the massive combination project on Block 4 nearing completion but still a few months out. But Block 3 is completely empty now. Nary a bit of staging remains as all of Kirkland’s contractors have consolidated their staging to Block 2 and possibly sharing some space with the AC Marriott staging on Block C of Terminal One. A freshly cleared block, hmm could be a sign the ground breaking is near. Or maybe Kirkland’s staging lease was up, who knows? I do know that Block 3 is an ideal staging location for the Kirkland project.

What about phase one of Aegis? This project whizzed through the CCRA several months ago and was essentially green lit by the Council, yet no signs of construction or groundbreaking. I have seen some significant in street underground utility activity in the last few weeks around the corner of 12th and C street. This could be regular maintenance but I was getting a more preparatory vibe from it. The project did get some local pushback, due primarily to the scale of the project relative to the scale of the historic Academy building it will stand aside. I like this project I think it does a nice compliment to the Academy and it is providing much needed revenue for the historic trust to spend on maintenance of this great building. The current use of the site is a dilapidated parking area, so I welcome a modern project to fill the space. I reached out to Marathon recently for comment, I’ll report back anything I hear.

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