AC Marriott Progressing

The AC Marriott hotel slated to rise up as the first project in the Terminal One redevelopment has moved to the final stages of prep. A Columbian article showed an updated rendering of the project that is slightly scaled back from the 9 story 160 room concept to a 7 story 150 room hotel.

Vancouver based Vesta Hospitality is contracted to manage the project. Details released in the article say that the hotel will not have a rooftop restaurant after all. They cited the abundance of restaurants going in next door at Vancouver Waterfront for deleting that from the plans. Hmm, I don’t think you can have too many rooftop restaurants šŸ˜‰

The ground needs to be shored up to meet earthquake standards so roughly $3 million is set aside to begin ground prep. The project nearly died due to increasing costs associated with the construction and the aforementioned ground work. However, the recent tax changes and Vancouver’s decision to include Terminal One in an opportunity zone led to the numbers penciling out again.

The Hotel should break ground later this year with hotel operations beginning in the first half of 2021. There is a flurry of urban hotel rooms going into both Downtown and the Waterfront, but that new area is already becoming quite the tourist attraction and that is only going to get better as the development continues to expand.

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No Chatter in a Long Bit on Timberhouse

I mentioned the Timberhouse project last month in an article about another new project proposed for the waterfront called the Trestle. Click here for that story.

Last year about this time the Columbian, Gramor Development, and other local bizĀ buzz was all over this new CLT project planned for Block 3 called Timberhouse. The building is planning on using CLT or cross laminated timber for the construction. If built it would be the tallest CLT structure in the US and second tallest in the world. Of course the Trestle will be even taller but it is earlier in the development cycle. Or is it? The Timberhouse Talk has been almost non-existent this year other than a quote in a local newspaper from Gramor boss, Barry Cain suggesting it was coming along or something like that. Hmm, I not so sure. Block three is just sitting there, no activity at all.

I am kind of excited about Timberhouse, the project drawings show a building with a classic style. It has multiple wings of different heights and a series of architectural setbacks that harken to yesteryear, despite the structure featuring very modern building techniques and tech. I hope they can actually get this built.

One thing could be the production of CLT. It is a newish building material but on the plus side, Canadian Timber Products Giant, Katerra recently opened up its massive expansion in Spokane The 250,000 sf factory for CLT will help with demand for CLT products in the US.

In other news, condo sales continue to be reasonably brisk in Downtown Vancouver. I believe that long term values of existing condos could see an above average spike as the Waterfront should serve to draw people into the area. Most of the condo units going up in that $1.5 billion project are very high end units in the one to five million dollar range. That will make the units in places like Heritage Place, Frontier Block, Viewpoint, and Parkview very attractive alternatives. It’s a short walk from any of those projects to the new waterfront.

Things are looking fantastic for Urban Living in the ‘Couv’.

El Gaucho coming to Indigo on the Waterfront

Vancouver’s new waterfront development just got some serious restaurant street cred with the announcement that El Gaucho will have a new restaurant located inside the new Indigo Hotel currently under construction on block 4. El Gaucho has four other locations, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, and Portland. The Columbian reported on the announcment and added that El Gaucho will also run the ‘Sky Lounge’ planned for the eighth floor.

El Gaucho prides itself in table side preparation of dishes, high quality ingredients and a formal attire worn by the wait staff. EntreƩs are going to be higher than most, if not all other eateries in the Vancouver area.

I have been to the Portland location located in the Benson Hotel a number of times, all were either very special occasions or business events. For most El Gaucho is reserved for special events like a 25th wedding anniversary, or another milestone occasion as those menu prices can be cost prohibitive for middle-income earners. But the idea of being able to stay local rather than making a run down to Portland for El Gaucho, Ruth Criss, City Grill, etc. just adds to the power of the positive transformation happening on the waterfront that transcends the local project to benefit the whole county.

Some will bemoan the high values of property being erected and the higher end nature of the shops and restaurants, but one can’t expect the most premium real estate in the metro area to be used for second-hand shops, fast food, dive diners, and cheap apartments. It doesn’t work that way. There is a strong economic impact created on these types of developments that helps everyone on the economic ladder. Although most of the construction workers, electricians, plumbers, and other middle-income service providers cannot afford to live in the units being built, the billions of dollars being spent on their services may very well allow them to buy a new place of their own, or move up to the better living arrangement. Washington-based contractors should be loving this since travelling to Oregon for jobs is time-consuming and carries a heavy tax burden.

This waterfront will be a positive for the whole region, and will even prop up the whole Downtown area as it builds out. Remember, We are only at less than half built through the first of three phases to be built over the next 8-10 years.

I only hope our city leaders will do their very best to start using this exciting new development to attract some large employers to the area. Jobs are always a good boost for local economic conditions and getting 20-30 thousand of the 60 thousand plus who commute across the bridges to Portland back on ‘our side’ of the river is good for our local tax base and very good for our residents. Not to mention the reduced traffic load on the bridge.

I’ll be writing about Oregon’s aggressive highway tolling plan and the fact some Portland leaders are trying to target Washingtonians that cross the river to work. If Vancouver leaders play it right, we could get Portland employers to move over here. But they must be aggressive as well.

New Proposal for Waterfront Block 20

The Columbian reported yesterday that San Francisco based, Jackson Square Properties has submitted a proposal for lot 20 at the waterfront. Jackson Square is no stranger to Vancouver having developed property in Vancouver already. All of the properties they did locally are more suburban style low-rise apartment complexes, so this represents something a bit more ambitious for them. In fact I couldn’t find any residential building they did anywhere with more than 4 floors.

That mentioned, the proposal is for a 7 story apartment building with 230 plus units and underground parking for 250 spaces. This project is proposed for a phase three area of the waterfront that was planned for later development beginning in 2021. They want to break ground next year. Of course lot 20 is at the far western end of the waterfront development area right up against the park and riverfront. It is a premium lot but the original idea was to reserve those western lots for taller structures since they have a higher height allowance under the FAA imposed height restrictions. At least that seems to be the case when looking at the master plan.

I suppose a shorter building at that location would help keep the value of the two blocks behind it (north) as those could have a taller structure overlooking this proposed building. I also like the idea of getting as much development done while the economy is still hot and developers and investors are excited about new projects.

I would imagine some renderings will emerge in the next few days giving us a peek at what may become of Block 20.