Tallest Buildings in Downtown / Uptown

I am routinely disappointed in the reporting about buildings in Vancouver. This is the tallest… blah, blah, blah. One of the oft cited sources is Emporis. Now let me be clear, I love Emporis, I really do, but they tend to put most of their energy into the mega-tall and super-tall developments going on in the world’s largest cities. A site like that doesn’t get too excited when a city like Vancouver erects another 10-15 story building… and it shows, seriously they have garbage data on Vancouver and are so out of touch the site is rendered useless for any local data gathering. Well, that doesn’t stop our local media outlets from citing them as a source. One might consider Phorio as the better option for building enthusiasts, click here.  (As of 11-2022 Phorio merged with a private database and may not be available to the public any more. Emporis closed their public database in 9/2022)

Most of the buildings erected in Vancouver are shown on Emporis with an estimated height, using some formula for x stories equals y height. Emporis knows full well that the ceiling heights between floors vary widely which is why the 805 Broadway building in Vancouver is as tall on the 10th floor as the Smith Tower is on the 13th.

They have omitted several tall buildings from any height estimation at all including St. James Proto Cathedral which is well over 100 feet tall. It’s not like Saint James is a new structure, jeez it was built in 1885 and stood as the tallest building downtown from 1885-1966. It was one of the tallest buildings in Pacific Northwest in the 19th Century. Furthermore, they haven’t added any of Vancouver’s newest buildings including the Kirkland Tower which is already built up to a height that would place it in the top 5 on their list. They also have a clearly inaccurate measurement on the Firstenburg Tower at Peace Health SW Washington Medical Center. They list it at 160 feet tall, it is NOT that tall, they are way off the mark. It is at best 145 feet tall. Furthering the inaccuracies, they list 500 Broadway as 100 feet tall. At best, 500 Broadway rises 85 feet above the street. Despite their sterling reputation, it seems Emporis has done very sloppy work in Vancouver USA. (Updated 5/5/22: Emporis has made some significant updates to their site including some corrections to improve accuracy).

I have spent the last few years using two tools to help determine the actual height as near as possible with my limited resources, for Vancouver’s taller buildings. These tools include an app that uses triangulation. This method requires an accurate measurement from a level point across the street to the base of the building to calculate heights.  I have also used Google’s quasi accurate 3D path tool on Google Earth.

The tallest built structures in Vancouver and Clark County are the two electrical transmission line towers at the Port of Vancouver which carry power across the Mighty Columbia to Portland, there are two matching towers on Hayden Island. Each of these are a little over 500 feet tall and no other structures in Clark County are remotely close to as tall. The next tallest structure is the tallest inhabited building in Vancouver and Clark County and it is the 25 story elevator tower at Terminal 2 at the Port of Vancouver. It stands 340 feet tall. It is technically the only skyscraper in town using a widely accepted 100 meter threshold for the term. There are several other towers around it that are more than 165 feet tall and are taller than any building in Downtown Vancouver or the new waterfront thus far.

OK so dropping the comparison of industrial buildings at the port and unoccupied mast poles, here is a list of Vancouver’s tallest buildings in the downtown area. I am using the height including architectural crowns and large mechanical or occupied penthouses, but not small mechanical penthouses or simple roof access points, nor antennae or flag poles. Minimum height 100 feet or 6 stories above ground. Approved and/or under construction or completed buildings only. Over the next 5-10 years this list could more than double in size. I am tracking 16 projects in planning or proposal stages that will exceed 100 feet (30.5m) in height in the Downtown and Waterfront area. There are footnotes for many of these structures height claims. Orange text denotes under construction. Green text denotes approved but not yet under construction.

  1. 805 Broadway: 165 feet, 10 stories, office, 1984 ^
  2. Smith Tower: 158 feet, 15 stories, residential, 1966 # ^#
  3. Modera Block 21: 157 feet, 15 stories^*, residential. 2026
  4. Vancouvercenter 3: 150 feet, 11 stories, office & residential, 2004
  5. Kirkland Tower: 146 feet*, 13 stories*^, residential, 2022
  6. Riverview Tower: 142 feet, 11 stories, office and residential, 1991
  7. Proto Cathedral St James: 132 feet, church tower with spire, 1885 ## *#
  8. Waterfront Block 2: 131 feet, 12 stories, residential, 2025
  9. Waterfront Block 1: 130 feet, 10 stories, office. 2025
  10. Waterfront Block 11: 130 feet, 12 stories, residential 2026
  11. The Springs Living: 129 feet, 12 stories, residential, 2024
  12. Terminal One Block C: 120 feet, 10 stories, office/parking, 2025
  13. Indigo Hotel: 112 feet*, 9 stories #^, hotel, with raised glass roof, 2022 ^^
  14. Terminal One Block A: 108 feet, 9 stories, office/parking, 2025
  15. Van Vista Plaza: 106 feet, 10 stories, residential, 1970
  16. The Murdock: 104 feet, 7 stories, office, 2018
  17. Clark County Admin: 102 feet, 6 stories, office, 2002
  18. City Hall: 100 feet, 6 stories, office, 2007
  19. Columbia House: 95 feet, 9 stories, 1979
  20. Main Place: 92 feet, 7 stories, office, 1991
  21. Hurley Tower: 90 feet, 6 stories, office, 2020
  22. Hilton Hotel: 89 feet, 7 stories, hotel, 2005
  23. Timberhouse: 88 feet, 8 stories, residential, 2023
  24. The Columbia: 87 feet, 7 stories, residential, 2021
  25. Riverwest: 87 feet, 7 stories, residential, 2019
  26. Waterfront Parking Garage: 86 feet, 8 stories, 2024
  27. 500 Broadway: 85 feet, 6 stories, office/residential, 2001
  28. Parkview at Vancouvercenter: 84 feet, 7 stories, residential, 2004
  29. The Aria: 81 feet, 7 stories, residential, 2021
  30. Clark County Courthouse: 80 feet, 6 stories, 1941
  31. Coen at Vancouvercenter: 79 feet, 7 stories, residential, 2020
  32. Holland Apartments: 78 feet, 7 stories, 2022
  33. Holland Office: 78 feet, 6 stories, 2022
  34. Broadstone Claro: 77 feet, 7 stories, residential, 2022
  35. Block 19 Waterfront: 77 feet, 7 stories, residential 2024
  36. The Arts Building: 76 feet, 7 stories **, office, 1928
  37. AC Marriott: 75 feet, 7 stories, hotel, 2022
  38. Rediviva: 75 feet, 6 stories, residential, 2018
  39. The Uptown: 74 feet, 6 stories, residential, 2018
  40. Aegis Phase 1 North: 74 feet, 6 stories, residential, 2022
  41. Aegis Phase 2 West: 74 feet, 6 stories, residential, 2025
  42. Aegis Phase 2 East: 74 feet, 6 stories, residential, 2025
  43. Adera : 74 feet, 6 stories, residential, 2024
  44. Columbia at Vancouvercenter: 72 feet, 6 stories, residential, 2004
  45. Murdock Executive Plaza: 71 feet, 7 stories, office/parking, 1982
  46. Mill Plain II: 70 feet, 6 stories, residential, 2021

^ includes architectural crown above 10th floor, roof height is 145 feet

# Tallest building downtown from 1966-1984

^# Highest roof height Downtown

* reported height in architectural renderings presented to the city. 

*^ building listed as 12 floors, 1st floor has full width and height mezzanine, floors 1, M, 2-11-Penthouse

## Tallest building downtown from 1885-1966

*# Possibly one of the ten tallest buildings on the West Coast in 1885

^^ includes architectural raised glass roof above the 8th floor

^* Building listed as 14 floors, but plans show common area penthouse and rooftop plaza on floor 15

#^ Building listed as 8 floors, recent change for restaurant rooftop patio and access on floor 9

** Originally 6 floors above ground, 7th floor penthouse suite added in 1979