Construction got underway this week on a 121-space parking lot near a downtown intersection that figures to be busy this summer with building activity.
The new parking lot at the southeast corner of Sixth and Grant streets will be located next to an existing parking lot west of Vancouver City Hall. The new lot is expected to be completed in late July or early August. The Vancouver City Council voted June 3 to approve a $328,733.84 construction contract with McDonald Excavating of Washougal.
The added spaces will extend the space of the existing lot. Entry to the expanded lot will continue to be through a gate off Esther Street. There will be a Sixth Street exit from the lot.
Adding nearly an acre of parking is expected to relieve some of downtown’s parking pressures, said Chad Eiken, director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Department.
“While we anticipate this property will be redeveloped for a higher and better use at some point in the near future, this will allow us to move about 35 city vehicles out of the Vancouvercenter garage and provide the remaining spaces for employees who have been on a waiting list … as well as opening up about 40 spaces for monthly permits to the general public,” Eiken said in an email.
This ought to free up downtown on-street spaces, Eiken said. The existing City Hall parking lot, as well as the surrounding downtown parking structures, are at capacity and there is a waiting list for spots. There is also a waiting list for downtown on-street permit parking permits, which cost $60 a month.
Across the street from the expanded parking lot, construction could begin as early as the first week of July on The Aria, a six-story building with 127 apartments and 125 parking spaces. Construction will take 16 months, said David Copenhaver, president of Cascadia Development Partners of Vancouver, the project developer. The project’s previous working name had been The Esther.
The $29 million project at 636 W. Sixth St., which is currently a parking lot, will be a “mix of two bedrooms/two baths; one bedroom and study/one bath; one bedroom/one bath; and studio dwelling units, all with modern finishes,” according to the project website, which does not list projected rental rates.
The Aria’s above-ground parking will be contained within the structure.
Downtown parking overall is a continuing concern for city officials, particularly with development of The Waterfront Vancouver, where parking is also at a premium. That project’s developers are planning a seven-story parking structure and about 740 parking space with 12,700 square feet of ground-floor retail.