Drivers have no doubt noticed that the right lane of Washington Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets has been cordoned off for the past two weeks. The orange-and-white barriers are part of a new perimeter fence around part of the adjacent Vancouvercenter property, and its arrival signals the long-awaited construction start of Vancouvercenter’s fourth tower.
The other three buildings on the two-block property next to Esther Short Park were completed more than a decade ago by developer Vandevco, and the foundations for the fourth building were completed as part of the underground parking garage beneath the block. But the tower itself was never built, due in part to the 2008 recession.
The southeastern quadrant of the former Lucky Lager brewery site has been fenced off ever since, empty apart from a couple of concrete and metal sheds that were built as caps on top of the holes that were left for the future building’s elevator shafts to the garage.
Those sheds were demolished this week as crews began to tear up the site and prep it for a renewed round of construction. By Friday, new steel rebar cages could be seen protruding from some of the holes, in preparation for future concrete pours.
Signs hung on the perimeter fence display concept art of the six-story building, which is slated to include 118 apartments, a 2,200-square-foot restaurant and ground floor retail.
Vancouver-based Holland Partner Group, which has built downtown towers in Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona, is building the fourth tower. Vandevco sold the rights to build the fourth tower to Holland in March 2018 in a $14.75 million deal.
Holland’s initial proposal called for a 10-story tower with 194 units using a new light steel framing technique. But city codes did not permit the design, so the revised plan calls for two lower levels made of concrete with four wood-framed levels above.
The Vancouvercenter project began in 2000, six years after the city of Vancouver purchased the former brewery, which had been closed for almost a decade. Two of the other Vancouvercenter towers are apartment buildings with a combined 224 units, and the third is an office building with ground-floor retail space.
More fencing has gone up around the Block 10 perimeter north of Vancouvercenter, which will serve as a staging area for the fourth tower construction.
The street closure is expected to remain in effect until the project is completed in the late summer or early fall of 2020.