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Vancouver waterfront undergoes transformation

by Andrea Waitrovich

Tualatin, Ore.–based developer Gramor Development has closed on a construction loan totaling $42.5 million with U.S. Bank for the $1.5 billion The Waterfront Vancouver development on the Columbia River in Vancouver, Wash.

The loan will support the construction of Block 6 Office and Block 6 Residential as phase 1 of The Waterfront 20-block mixed-use destination continues to progress.

The project broke ground in August 2016. The 32 acres of waterfront land along the Columbia River will be transformed into 21 city blocks of development, including 3,300 new residential units, more than 1.25 million square feet of office space, a luxury hotel and retail space.

City officials are also building a $30 million public park that will occupy about seven acres along a half-mile of shoreline.

The land, previously home to a Boise Cascade paper mill, had been inaccessible to the public for more than 100 years, until the city in 2014 spent nearly $45 million to dig under a railroad berm and build roads underneath it, connecting the waterfront with downtown streets, according to a local media outlet.

Tenants already signed on for the project include M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust at Block 6 Office, and Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty and MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company at Block 6 Residential. Located near the Grant Street Pier — a 90-foot-long cable-stay pier suspended above the water — tenants at Block 9 include WildFin American Grill, and tenants at Block 12 include Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar and Ghost Runners Brewery, which will offer restaurant patrons a breathtaking view of the Columbia River.

An additional tower of 197 luxury apartments is currently being built at Block 8, and Block 4 will house 120 hotel rooms for the Hotel Indigo in addition to 40 luxury condominium homes. A focal point of The Waterfront development includes a picturesque new half-mile-long park along the river and Headwaters Wall, an interactive water feature that will take visitors on an entertaining and historical journey of those who have traveled the rivers that lead into the Columbia River.

The city of Vancouver is also developing a 7.3-acre park at the waterfront, which will be built by Battle Ground–based Tapani Inc., which was awarded the contract earlier this year. Construction is expected to last through summer 2018.

And earlier this year, the city of Vancouver and the Vancouver Park Board approved the project located at False Creek, with more than 14 acres of park planned for the northeast area and a new street network to replace the existing viaduct.

The plan’s early draft includes a new 11-acre park and the replacement of the viaducts with an at-grade street network.

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