Market Rumor Update and Other News

That new market rumor I heard may turn out to be a different kind of market than I thought. I read an article about a ‘retail market’ called Pop Local planning to open at the waterfront and this may have been the source of the rumors of a grocery market. Pop Local is not a grocer but rather an artisan market. That itself is cool but it is not a traditional ‘market’ as the rumors were suggesting. That declared, it is certainly possible some other grocer is planning a grocery outlet of sorts somewhere on the waterfront or nearby. I think the ideal spot would actually be somewhere in the new Waterfront Gateway District the city is actively working on now. A grocer like Whole Foods or even a Neighborhood Walmart Market with say 15000 to 25,000 square feet at the ground level in one of the new buildings that ultimately gets built in the new district. The thing about the Walmart idea is that a discount or mainstream grocer makes sense in the space New Seasons is building and a high end grocer makes more sense closer to the Park or Waterfront as that is where the most expensive housing is. It’s weird how things play out sometimes. That ultimate build-out at at the Waterfront may be 3-5 years out, but by then the Waterfront should have a bustling population to make the second market more financially viable. I still can’t wrap my head around the notion that Gramor, an experienced shopping center developer, could not get New Seasons or Whole Foods to occupy the ground space at their proposed Block Ten development two years ago. Block Ten is a BETTER location for a high end market than 1600 Washington where New Seasons is building their ‘Downtown’ store. But in the end Gramor couldn’t ink the deal and Holland ended up with their project going in.

In other news…

Block 19 has a suitor willing to build a 180 unit apartment building. It seems that the same developer building the Broadstone Claro next door on Block 17 is already interested in expanding their Waterfront holdings. That is positive news indeed. The pre-app submission shows a minimum type density with 5 floors of apartments over a 1 or 2 story concrete base of parking.

I find it interesting that the four Blocks to the far west, 18,19,20,21 have the highest FAA allowed building heights and were originally intended for taller structures are not getting structures taller than Kirkland Tower. The original concept design for the Waterfront showed taller 14-18 story buildings on Blocks 16,17,18,19,20, and 21. Block 18 is the only block of the western four to get a high-rise project. That’s the Springs which should break ground Q1, 2022. Block 20 is nearly complete with a 7 story apartment tower. Block 17 turned out to be a minimum density project of effectively 7 floors, two levels of parking and 5 floors of apartments. Block 19 based on the pre-app is likely going to be a minimum density project at 6 possibly 7 floors. No word on Block 21 which was briefly labeled as “in contract” but later returned to “available” status.

I do hope Gramor tries to stick with the original plan of taller projects in the western blocks. Other than the will fated CLT ‘Trestle’ project at 16 stories on Block 14, no-one has expressed interest in the Block 11,13,14 clump which can also support taller projects. Those however are in the Phase 3 plan.

Gramor also still has plans to erect a 14 story condo tower on Block 16 which as shown fits beneath the FAA maximum height limit of 148 feet. Still no word on that project and in fact it seems Gramor is tight lipped on any condo development other than Kirkland Tower. It is certainly possible that Gramor wants to give Kirkland some breathing room to get those high end condos sold before announcing a competing project. I don’t think the Block 16 project is going to compete with Kirkland Tower. That is a spectacular building and the only true ‘lifestyle hotel-condo’ project in the entire metro area. As I mentioned in a previous article, Portland’s Ritz Carlton will be a competitor when it completes presumably in 2023.

As I was reading older news reports to support this article I ran across a couple of reports in the Columbian regarding the failed Tesoro-Savage oil project at the Port of Vancouver. There was a bit of a grudge between Gramor and Tesoro-Savage each suggesting the other was a bad proposition. One article wrote about Tesoro Savage’s claim that the Waterfront Project was not viable. I think the two projects could have co-existed, but I find it hilarious just how WRONG Tesoro was about the viability of the Waterfront. I don’t think anyone can say it is anything less than a smashing success.

BTW take a peek at Dean Sorenson’s latest waterfront video from late August. I keep the latest video posted on the Waterfront Page.

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