Re-Printed from the Portland Business Journal: September 24, 2015
A charitable organization that has invested more than $800 million in regional nonprofits over the past 40 years will be the first tenant in the first office building coming to the massive waterfront redevelopment in Vancouver, Washington.
At a waterfront event today, Barry Cain, president of Gramor Development Inc., the firm spearheading the private side of the $1.5 billion development, announced that the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has signed a letter of intent to occupy 18,000 square feet of the top two floors of the waterfront’s first new office and retail building on Block 6, which will be at 305 Columbia Way. The trust currently has its offices at 703 Broadway St. in downtown Vancouver. NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson acted as lease brokers.
A rendering shows what the future of the Vancouver waterfront could look like after a $1.5 billion redevelopment project. The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has signed a lease for space in the development’s first office building, which will break ground next spring.
The first building will be seven stories offering 61,000 square feet of office space and close to 17,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. There will also be underground parking. Construction is expected to start next spring, and the trust’s lease kicks in on Sept. 1, 2017.
“This is exciting momentum with the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, because they are the perfect partner to be the first tenant,” Cain said in a release. “They’ve done so much to help communities in Oregon and southwest Washington.”
Plans for Block 6 also call for an apartment tower with up to 150 units and retail space. In addition, Gramor Development also announced it had filed the pre-application for two buildings each to occupy Blocks 9 and 12, which will overlook a waterfront park. Both Blocks 9 and 12 will host restaurants.
According to information from Gramor, the master plan for the waterfront development includes about 1.5 million square feet of office and retail space, which is about 20 percent of the total at 5 million developable square feet. Columbia Waterfront LLC, the partnership behind the massive project, acquired the property in 2008 and soon created the master development plan. The plan won unanimous approval from the city of Vancouver in October 2009.
Property infrastructure implementation such as underground utilities, sewers and electrical cabling has been completed. Street paving, streetlights, curbing, and overall surface readiness is nearing completion as extensions of Esther and Grant Streets wrap up. Columbia Way’s connection of Esther and Grant Streets is complete and opens today. Design and development of the new waterfront park is set to begin in November.
Also at this morning’s event, Cain and Vancouver Mayor Timothy Leavitt officially dedicated the waterfront extension of Southeast Columbia Way, a key street extension that will help pave the way for the new development. The project will unfold in phases in the coming years over 22 blocks and 32 acres. In total, the project could add up to 3,300 housing units, 10 acres of parks and the office and retail space mentioned above.