Aegis Phase II Primed for Launch & Academy Celebrates Sesquicentennial

Aegis renders with Academy in middle

At the end of last month Marathon Development closed on the final parcel at the Academy which will allow them to begin construction on Phase II of Aegis. Phase I is in the final stages of completion with most of the exterior structure complete and interior build out underway. They closed on three parcels to build Phase I. Two parcels along C street and a parcel facing 12th Street. The remaining parcel, the largest of the four is now recorded and opens up the NE corner of the Academy site where the Laundry and Chimney were recently demolished. Aegis has already run through the land use and design review phases, so now they just pull permits and start. I am not sure where they are on that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they have their ducks all lined up to start this spring. The first phase brings 140 units and some retail. Phase two will bring 200 units and a parking garage. The two buildings on the left of the drawing are almost complete, the center structure is the 150 year old Academy building and Phase II is the larger structure at the top right.

Aegis Phase I from 5th floor of Library 3/2023

That final purchase produced more cash for the Academy to help finish the restoration as well as the complete remodel of the front courtyard area that will be spectacular when completed sometime in the next few years. There were a lot of detractors when the Aegis project was first proposed but in the end the entire area will be much nicer. The grounds were not well kept and being used as surface parking. It was a bit of a blight. Having brand new shiny buildings is better than having a weed infested parking area making the whole area look dingy. The academy building is a beautiful structure that deserves to be surrounded with nice landscaping and high quality structures as neighbors. That is happening and that is good.

I mentioned the Academy’s Sesquicentennial in the title and that is a milestone actually. It was built in 1873, so 2023 is in fact the 150th anniversary of that important historical building. I have some information about this building here. But the Clark County Historical Museum has a lot more. It is a fascinating tale of one of the most influential people in Clark County history. Mother Joseph a pioneer woman that helped make this area a regional leader for decades to come, designed and helped build the House of Providence building AKA the Academy.

There was substantial activity in the local urban condo market last week. Business was mixed with a few new listings, a few pending saled and some closed units. This made for a relatively neutral change in the inventory. But the increased activity is a positive sign that buyers are still excited about living in our urban areas, in particular the Downtown area. All of this activity and the ready acceptance of luxury apartments in the Downtown and Waterfront area is highly favorable for Condominium developers. Many people want to own their residence but don’t want to deal with a yard or exterior maintenance. This can be attractive to both the busy working people that spend long hours working their way up the proverbial ladder of success as well as older retired people looking for a nice place will no exterior maintenance. I am looking forward to a developer proposing a condominium tower with a little less opulence than Kirkland that opens the market up to people in the middle class. We shall see, condo development tends to be a more tricky animal than apartments.

Some of you may have noticed the construction activity on Block 7 at the Waterfront. This is the block immediately to the left after you clear the Grant Street Rail Underpass. This is an 8 story parking garage that will feature retail space facing Columbia Way and wrapping around both corners. It is expected to have well in excess of 800 spaces. Once complete the temporary surface lots on Blocks 5, 10, 11, 13, and 14 will be available to develop. Holland Partner Group already has a proposal for a 12 story mixed use project on Block 11, I discussed in an earlier post. The garage will be tall enough that I expect a tower crane to be erected to support the project. It is possible that Block 5 may be at least partially used for staging the construction.

Those of you watching the development may also have noticed that Block 3 ‘Timberhouse’ is nearing completion. That project features 8 floors above ground and 2 underground. 227 units of apartments should start leasing this summer. LPC West is currently underway with the Terminal One office project for ZoomInfo, that will be a 10 and 9 story parking and office complex it is now up about 3-4 floors tall. LPC West is the master developer for the City of Vancouver’s exciting Waterfront Gateway development and they have already submitted updated and CCRA approved designs. They are also in contract for both Blocks 1 and 2 of the Waterfront which already have preliminary approval for 10 and 12 floor office and residential towers respectively. They have become a major player in Vancouver urban development over the last few years.

I’ll have the last of the community spotlights in the near future.

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