VANCOUVER, Wash. -- The $1.5 billion Waterfront Vancouver development along the Columbia River is starting to take shape. On Monday, developers took KGW on a tour of the property and shared the development’s progress.
Located on 32 acres near downtown, the mixed-use waterfront development will feature a park, restaurants, and office and residential units initially. The property’s developer, Gramor Development, says a hotel and retail space is planned, too.
What’s most visible now, however, is the construction of the Grant Street pier. Last month, crews installed a large mast that will use cables to support a pier over the Columbia River.
“I think it’s more noticeable than I thought it was going to be,” said Gramor owner Barry Cain. Also noticeable is a pair of two-story buildings that will house restaurants right behind the pier. “The thing that I think is so spectacular is this view,” said Cain, overlooking the Columbia from the second story of one of the buildings.
Construction on the Waterfront has been a long time coming for all involved.
“We’ve been working on it for about 13 years now. It’s nice to have it going,” Cain said.
The project has been a complicated one, he acknowledged. Cain pointed to years of prior work working with a nearby railroad, reconfiguring streets, and obtaining proper approval for the waterfront park.
So far, four restaurants, including chains from Seattle and Spokane, have signed on to occupy the restaurant buildings by the pier.
Vancouver residents passing by the development told KGW they were excited to see the finished project.
“We’ve got this beautiful view downtown. And it was underused,” said Tracy Hopp, who lives downtown. At the same time, Hopp said he was cautious of the scale of the project. “I think parking is going to be a problem. I’m hoping it’s mitigated by the construction that’s done here,” he said.
“Another playground for the rich doesn’t really enthuse me much” said Angie Brown, a longtime Vancouver native. “The pictures look nice,” Brown admitted. “We’ll see what it looks like.”
Cain, meanwhile, is confident that the Waterfront will breathe new life into the area. Cain called the project a “top-five destination” for the whole Portland-Vancouver area. “I think everyone is going to learn anew about Vancouver and Vancouver downtown,” he said.
According to Cain, the Grant Street pier and the restaurant buildings will open by July 2018 with the waterfront park to follow after. An office building and two residential spaces will be completed by fall 2018 as well.