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Developers debut plans for Providence Academy’s ‘Phase II’

The team behind the renovation of the Providence Academy and the redevelopment of its downtown Vancouver campus has debuted plans for “Phase II” of the project, which will focus on the northern portion of the historic site.

Vancouver nonprofit The Historic Trust and real estate company Marathon Acquisition & Development outlined plans for two mixed-use, multi-family residential buildings in a press release on Thursday. The Phase II plan also includes a parking structure and 74,000 square feet of open space.

Concept renderings posted to The Historic Trust’s website show one of the six-story apartment buildings positioned along the center of the northern side of the site with a large courtyard and lawn space in between the building and the Academy. The parking structure is in the northeast corner of the site.

The second building is directly south of the parking garage on the eastern side of the site. The two apartment buildings are connected by a narrow section of building that wraps around the corner of the parking structure, hiding it from view from the rest of the campus.

The overall development project is referred to as the Aegis. It’s is a joint effort from the trust and Marathon, which is based in Wilsonville, Ore. The trust is leading renovation and restoration of the main Academy building while Marathon pursues construction and design work for the new residential structures.

The trust purchased the Providence Academy building and its 7-acre campus in 2015 with the intention of renovating the building so that it can continue to serve as a core feature of downtown Vancouver.

The purchase cost $5 million, and the final price tag for the renovation is expected to be as much as $15 million, plus $8 million for surrounding site upgrades. To cover those costs, the trust developed a plan to sell off a 3.58-acre portion of the site for redevelopment.

In January 2018 the trust announced that it had reached a deal with Marathon, and the team debuted initial plans for two apartment buildings on the western side of the site. Those plans are now known as “Aegis Phase I” to differentiate them from the “Aegis Phase II” buildings announced on Thursday.

The Phase I plan calls for a pair of residential buildings with a combined 134 apartments along C street, with a narrow parking lot running along the length of the site between the apartments and the Academy building.

The plan also includes a brick courtyard in the southwest corner of the campus, which will be extended across the parking lot into the space formerly occupied by the vacant El Presidente restaurant building, which was demolished earlier this year.

The external architecture and design of the buildings depicted in the Phase II concept art is nearly identical to the design for the Phase I buildings, which were developed with community input to emphasize brick elements to complement the historic architecture of the Academy building.

“We are working closely with the trust staff and board members to ensure that we create a campus feel for the entire site,” said Aaron Wigod of Marathon. “The guiding principles the trust established for redevelopment of the Providence Academy continue to steer our design of the master plan, including Aegis Phase II.”

Phase I is currently in the permitting phase with construction targeted to begin in the spring of 2020. A projected start date was not announced for Phase II.

Members of the public will be able to view and comment on the Phase II plans at an open house event from 4-7 p.m. Oct. 16 in Providence Hall at the Academy, 400 E. Evergreen Blvd. Concept art can also be viewed online at

Marathon and the trust have formed a joint group of architects, designers and community stakeholders called the Providence Academy Advisory Team, which will be tasked with evaluating the public comments and incorporating them into design recommendations for Phase II.

The Phase II renderings show the campus’s historic smokestack preserved as part of the northern courtyard, although the adjacent boiler and laundry buildings are not present.

The future of all three structures is not finalized, according to the trust’s press release. An initial analysis in 2012 led the trust to conclude that the buildings were beyond repair, but the trust said it recently commissioned a second analysis of the smokestack at the request of the city of Vancouver.

In an August letter, the city instructed the trust to develop a plan to either repair the structures or demolish them. In either case, the city imposed a deadline of March 2020 for the trust to acquire the necessary permits and March 2022 for work to be completed.

The press release said the trust is still seeking input from experts and the public to determine the feasibility of preserving the structures, and intends to submit a report to the city before the March 2020 deadline.


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