Fast facts

Reclaims 32 acres of important waterfront real estate

Extends the Vancouver, Washington, urban core back to its riverfront

Up to 1 million square feet of office space, 3,000 riverfront residences and superb retail opportunities

Generous greenspaces including walking and biking trails, public parks, and natural habitat

Sustainable, environmentally conscious design fits the Pacific Northwest ethos

Exciting new destination with opportunities for waterfront restaurants, signature retail space and boutique hotels



Designed to be a natural fit

The Columbia Waterfront project reclaims a significant piece of the city landscape long separated from residents, neighbors and visitors. The Columbia River shaped Vancouver's identity, and for most of the city's history, its shores were the hub of city life. Busy waterfront sawmills, wharves and shipyards anchored the region’s economy. Vancouver was a quintessential river town.

The riverfront transitioned, and the property became home to a paper mill in the 1940s. Eventually that was purchased by Boise Cascade, which operated there until it idled the mill in 1996. Over time, the city had lost its connection with its birthplace.

Columbia Waterfront LLC acquired the property in 2008 and has worked closely with the city and Port of Vancouver to create a master plan for development. The plan won unanimous approval in October 2009.

Location

The property is located within the city of Vancouver in southwestern Washington state, directly across the broad Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, and a 10-minute drive to Portland International Airport. From the site, it is a 1½ hour drive to the Pacific Ocean, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood. Seattle, Washington, is a 2½ hour drive north up Interstate 5.

The project site comprises more than 32 acres in downtown Vancouver, including 28 acres owned by Columbia Waterfront LLC and 4 acres subject to a lease agreement with the Port of Vancouver.

Project goals

The site, whose industries were once key to the economic vitality of the community, will be a catalyst for Vancouver’s growth in a new economy. The property that was long closed to the public will be open for all to explore. These goals as well as the following are important considerations in the project's design:

  • Provide public access to the entire waterfront.
  • Attract diverse people and uses.
  • Reconnect the waterfront to downtown Vancouver, building a sense of community and becoming a source of regional pride.
  • Build a first phase, along the waterfront esplanade, that can stand on its own.
  • Use environmental strategies to transform an industrial site into a public amenity.
  • Achieve landmark stature, recognizable from the air, I-5, rail and water.
  • Integrate with and extend the transit system.

Site description

The Waterfront site is a roughly rectangular parcel stretching approximately half a mile from east to west along the edge of the Columbia River. The terrain is flat, affording an expansive viewshed of forested riverbanks framed by the rolling foothills of the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges. Iconic Mt. Hood graces the eastern horizon.

The site is essentially clear of structures and improvements. The Port of Vancouver has constructed the first phase of a rail line that forms the north boundary of the site, with undercrossings at two streets. The city and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway are designing improvements that will create additional site access.

Project description

The project includes a maximum of 3,300 residential units of several types to create a socially and economically diverse community. Approximately 1 million square feet of office space will be developed for lease and purchase. Retail space will include restaurants, specialty shops and services to support residents and visitors. The plan accommodates a 160-key hotel.

Other plan features:

  • Streets will be scaled to allow cars, pedestrians and bicyclists to coexist.
  • Street lighting will enhance the ambiance of a world-class waterfront community.
  • Deep sidewalks will be friendly to pedestrians and invite café seating.
  • Solar-power technologies will enable parking meters, trash and recycling units.
  • Development will occur in phases. The first phase could create a prominent entry from downtown and provide a dynamic entertainment district along the waterfront.

Parks and open space

Columbia Waterfront LLC coordinated with the City of Vancouver to complete a detailed public design for waterfront parks and open space, including some elements that the developers will improve and convey to the city. The design is separate from the master plan authorization. The design describes a long-term “Parks and Open Space Vision” the city will follow for the system, while the master plan outlines the developer’s improvements.

The parks and open space system includes a variety of parks where people can enjoy time with others or steep their senses in the world of nature. A wide waterfront esplanade will connect with Vancouver’s Columbia River Renaissance Trail, and naturalized open spaces will invite wildlife viewing. A waterfront park is envisioned as a vibrant, inspiring experience for all residents and visitors. Pathways, sidewalks and street end plazas link the parks and open spaces and extend the waterfront character back into the site itself.

Sustainability

At the Columbia Waterfront, the sustainability values of the Pacific Northwest will guide development standards. The project will work to return the site shoreline to a more natural condition, protect it from flooding and provide places for people to interact with the river. Strategies being considered include greenhouse gas-neutral protocols, biomass heat generation, onsite water treatment and water conservation.

Roadways, access, transit and parking

The site is currently accessed via private road on the east end. Three main vehicular, transit, bicycle and pedestrian access points are proposed, with the developer providing striped bicycle lanes along the primary route. Projected transportation impacts of the project are well within FEIS limits. Traffic mitigation efforts to offset development impacts include breaching the railroad berm and extension of streets south of the berm. The project can incorporate structured and on-street parking to meet final needs; no permanent surface parking lots are proposed.

Schedule

• Master plan approval Obtained Fall 2009
• Infrastructure construction start Spring 2014
• Building construction start Fall 2014/Spring 2015
• Initial building completion Fall 2015/Spring 2016

For more information, contact us.

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