Multiuse complex coming to East Vancouver

Burst of development continues with plans for a $22 million apartment, hotel and retail project

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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Plenty of projects for Vancouver’s west side are in the talking stage, but it’s the east side of the city that continues to blossom.

The latest evidence is a $22 million retail, apartment and hotel complex approved by the city’s development department this month. Vancouver-based developers Dean Kirkland and Tom Files of Columbia Pacific Leasing and Income Properties expect to break ground this fall on the South 192nd Avenue Plaza and Westridge Lofts, a 4.5-acre complex at the southeast corner of 192nd Avenue and 20th Street.

The site is just south of the same developers’ $12 million 192nd Avenue Plaza featuring mixed-use retail buildings, which opened in 2010.

The site is convenient to neighborhoods with affluent residents and a growing pool of well-paying businesses.

“We chose the 192nd Avenue corridor because of the demographics,” Kirkland said.

It is unclear how developers will divide Westridge Lofts’ 110 units between rental units and hotel rooms. The project also will have 21,000 square feet of retail space. It is the third multibuilding complex developed by Kirkland and Files along 192nd Avenue, Clark County’s busiest commercial development corridor.

The construction boom is fueled by job growth specific to the area, according to Eric Fuller, a commercial real estate broker with Vancouver-based Eric Fuller & Associates Inc.

“You have a major thoroughfare with developable land and a demographic that is prepared to support the development,” he said.

The potential consumers will come from corporate newcomers on both sides of the corridor, including Fisher Investments, which now employs 450 people at its 120-acre Camas campus, and PeaceHealth, in the process of moving its Bellevue-based headquarters and administrative staff to east Vancouver. The nonprofit health care company expects its workforce to reach 600 people by 2014.

Those workers and the housing market’s recent downturn also create a need for apartments, Fuller said.

“As employment growth is increased, there is more demand for more rentals because more people are looking to rent than to buy,” he said.

The apartment component of Westridge Lofts will be housed in a four-story building of units with individual balconies and community amenities including a sports court for outdoor activities.

“It will be high end,” Kirkland said.

Higher quality materials are more easily obtained due to a lull in residential construction, he said.

Editor's note: This story has been modified to reflect the correct spelling of Tom Files name.