Block 10, one of the last undeveloped blocks in downtown Vancouver, is under construction as workers began digging out a foundation.
Set to be finished in 2022, the site near Esther Short Park will be home to a six-story, mixed-use building with 114 above-ground parking spaces. Two distinct four-story towers will rise from a two-story shared parking garage and retail base.
The developers the building, Vancouver-based Holland Partner Group and Arlington, Va.-based EJF Capital, will create one tower for office space and the other for residential units, Vancouver Community and Economic Development Director Chad Eiken said.
The residential tower will hold 110 multifamily units, and the office space will encompass 79,000 square feet. The ground-floor retail takes up about 10,000 square feet. About 20 percent of the multifamily units will be designated as workforce housing, with more affordable rents, according to a news release from EFJ.
Eiken said the office tower will be slightly taller because the floors are higher, shown in a conceptual rendering from Portland-based architect Ankrom Moisan Architects.
The city of Vancouver purchased the blocks in the early 1990s as it aimed to have developers revitalize the downtown core, Eiken said.
“It fills a vacant block that is the last remaining of original five Lucky Lager Brewery blocks,” he said. “It’s a long time coming. We’re excited to see the project come to downtown.”
In 2017, the city attempted to find a grocery store to agree to come to the spot and a developer to build the building, but it found no success. Other proposed uses for the site over the years included a medical office, a school and a performing arts center.
The city sold the block for $3.3 million to the Holland Partner Group, which submitted a pre-application packet in July 2019. The plan showed an 11-story building, which has since changed.
Holland, a developer and landlord with projects in several states, is wrapping up construction on the fourth tower of Vancouvercenter, two blocks south. Most recently it had used Block 10 as a construction staging area for that project.
The one-acre parcel of land, at 815 Columbia St., is in an “Opportunity Zone,” which was created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The act gives tax benefits to investors with the goal of boosting economic development.
The building will include a fitness center, a coworking space, a bike room and an “amenity deck” on top of the third level, according to the news release.