Vancouver Has Seven Tower Cranes Up

Six of Vancouver’s seven cranes are visible in this image.

Tower crane number seven rose up last week to support the 8 story parking garage on Block 7, bringing the total crane count on the Waterfront to five. There is a sixth crane Downtown supporting the Hurley Development, Adera apartment project on Columbia Street at 4th. The seventh crane is on the east side at Columbia Palisades. I mentioned in a previous post that although unlikely, it is possible Vancouver could have more active cranes than our larger neighbor south of the River. Yes, looking at you Portland. According to the semi-annual RLB crane index which was published last month, Portland is down to 14 tower cranes operating in the city. That is way off the 30 plus cranes they had before the pandemic. At least two of those cranes will come down before any of Vancouver’s active cranes are removed. It is possible that Vancouver could add another three cranes this year and if all of them are up at once, we could indeed have more cranes than Portland since the trend in the Rose City is fewer cranes. I do not think the timing will happen for us to have ten cranes up at once nor do I expect Portland to lose five more cranes by year’s end. It is likely that Mill Creek Residential will start construction on Block 21 this summer and I’d image Marathon will start Phase two of Aegis at the Academy which will probably need two cranes, but there will be a large amount of ground prep for that project so it is possible but unlikely cranes will be up this year for that one. The mere fact that we are competing for larger urban scale projects with a Major city like Portland is very telling about the falling status in Rip City and the rising star that is Vancouver USA.

Portland’s business press has definitely noticed the falling crane count in that city. It seems they are putting frosting on a stale cake down there making excuses for the downturn in major projects. They mention high costs of construction and lack of workforce as reasons for the lackluster building. However that runs completely counter to both Clark County and Washington County which of course are directly adjacent to Portland and have record numbers of cranes up. We are all drawing from the same pool of workers. RLB announced in the April report that they had a record number of cranes reported in North America this go round, so the trend is not down nationally. Portland developers, news media, and pundits continue to avoid the elephant in the room; businesses do not want to be in Portland anymore. People are starting to leave as well. The city center has become a third world mess and the blame lies on local government. It will take Portland a long while to climb out of this hole. Frankly I’m not sure they will, because the politicians there simply don’t get it. Hopefully our politicians on this side of the River will look south and be smart enough to do the opposite of what Rose City officials did. But alas, politicians are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. We shall see how it goes.

Condo activity in the city center was about the same as it has been over the last several weeks with good activity at both ends of the inventory spectrum. Aegis Phase One is open and leasing, now called “Aeon” and it looks like units are quickly filling up. I noticed as well that Claro on Block 17 at the Waterfront is also filling up nicely. Demand for urban apartments in Vancouver seems to be steady and strong. The Miller on Block 3 at the Waterfront is due to open soon perhaps late June or early July. That was formally the “Timberhouse” project, it will feature 226 units in an 8 story mid-rise. They are pre-leasing now. So long as demand remains strong and residential vacancy continues to be tight, Downtown and the waterfront should see plenty of new projects over the coming years.

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