7-Eleven, more coming to east Vancouver

National retailer, clinic also part of $5M development

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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A $5 million construction project will add a 7-Eleven convenience store and gas pumps to the corner of Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and 164th Avenue, one of Vancouver’s busiest intersections.

The project includes a separate building for an urgent care clinic and another national retailer that has not yet been announced, said Mike Jenkins, the project’s Vancouver developer. Jenkins also is planning a makeover of the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant as part of the project, called Commercial Center at 164th.

Jenkins expects a May groundbreaking for the development on the southwest quadrant of the intersection.

High traffic counts were the main attraction for 7-Eleven, which stands a good chance of capturing morning commuters heading south on 164th to state Highway 14 connections to Interstates 5 and 205.

The 2,950-square-foot store and eight gas pumps will take up the northeastern-most corner of the 2.5-acre site, said Jenkins, of Vancouver-based MAJ Development.

“It’s on the going-to-work side of the street,” said Jenkins. “People will be stopping to get gas and grab coffee.”

Jenkins has developed more than 30 stores for Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. in the past three years. Two of those stores opened in Clark County, where 7-Eleven continues to seek market share. Jenkins plans to develop two more Vancouver stores this year at sites near Westfield Vancouver mall and near the intersection of Fourth Plain and Grand boulevards.

“Then corporate will sign on a franchisee,” said Jenkins, who will own and lease the site to 7-Eleven. The chain operates and franchises more than 7,750 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Jenkins said future plans at the Mill Plain and 164th Avenue site call for another building that will have a drive-through window that could be used by either a bank branch or a fast-food restaurant.

“We have some flexibility,” he said.

But construction won’t start on that building or the former Ruby Tuesday until a commercial tenant agrees to lease the space.

Jenkins said he is actively recruiting tenants to fill Ruby Tuesday, which closed in July 2011 due to slumping sales. The casual sit-down chain opened the Vancouver site in 2003, purchasing the building from owners of the City Grill steak house, which formerly operated there.

Jenkins said buildings in the planned commercial development would have an exterior style similar to the nearby Columbia Crossing retail development that faces the site from the east side of 164th Avenue. That development opened in 2006 and includes national retailers such as Kohl’s, Best Buy and Cost Plus World Market.