Vancouver Center 4 Modified, Again

Vancouver Center 4 is back in the news with the Columbian reporting in October, that construction should start in March.

Last year, Vancouver based, Holland Partner Group proposed a ten story light gauge steel structure for the site which would have housed 194 apartment units. The light gauge steel design has not been fully vetted for a west coast seismic zone so it seems that the alternative 6 story option will play out with 116 units and roughly 2000 feet of retail underneath.

Timing is important on this building for two reasons, first the city granted an extension on the special taxation / zoning of the building under the plan originally setup for the project in the early 2000’s. The structure must be done within a set time frame, which is closing in. Waiting on the seismic reporting was no longer an option. Furthermore, the building construction will be staged on Block Ten and Gramor is planning to erect their 11 story project on that block as soon as this project is complete, so again on the timing.

What I find odd is that Holland planned on a ten story structure but now according to the Columbian article is using a steel and concrete two-story base with four wood framed floors over the top. That doesn’t make sense when code allows for five floors up wood frame. The drawing from that same article shows a five wood frame up looking design over a single story concrete base. I imagine that is the plan since a seven story building was never discussed.

Steel and concrete building is time-consuming and expensive, so it is cost-effective to utilize wood framing whenever possible, especially for apartment units. If it is to be a two-story concrete base, it stands to reason the building ought to have seven floors.

Whatever the case may be, the beleaguered Vancouver Center 4 is finally going up and that is good news for downtown.

Gramor Revises Block Ten Proposal

Gramor Development, well known for their leadership in the massive waterfront project now underway, had a preliminary approval to build out Block Ten downtown. This full city block is the last remnant of the old Lucky Lager Brewery site and Gramor proposed a full service grocery store and other ground floor retail with 5-6 floors of apartments above and 1-3 floors of parking underground.

Earlier this fall, Gramor announced a revision to the plan seeking to make the building taller with above ground parking instead of underground. The revision calls for an 11 story structure rather than a 6-7 story building. This roughly matching the height of both the Riverview Tower and the Vancouver Center 3 tower, to the north and south respectively. Renderings do not appear to be public yet.

Gramor says the ground floor would be the grocery store and other retail fronting West 8th, Washington, and Columbia streets with the parking facing West 9th and using 3 of the building’s 11 floors on the north side. Should the city smile on the project, the construction would begin in roughly 18 months with completion in 2021. According to an article in the Columbian, the Block Ten site is scheduled to serve as a staging area for the upcoming Vancouver Center 4 tower.  It seems the timing would have Gramor building out the block after Vancouver Center 4 is topped out.

A grocery store is one of the few things still missing for Downtown’s urban residents. That is soon to find its remedy.