Construction on downtown Vancouver's newest apartment complex is approaching completion, and downtown boosters hope its new residents will boost the city center's desired image as a happening destination.
Prestige Plaza, a $16 million apartment complex on Mill Plain Boulevard between C and D streets, is set to open the first of two 46-unit buildings in January. The second building is scheduled to open in February. The complex also will have ground-floor "live-work" units and between three and four street-level retail spaces, said project developer Elie Kassab of Vancouver-based Prestige Development. He said the company is not preleasing apartments, although it is taking reservations.
"And we have 19 parties interested already," Kassab said.
He expects rents to range between $850 and $1,350 per month at the complex. Kassab hopes the project's studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units appeal to anyone from Clark College students to downtown workers and downsizing baby boomers.
Downtown advocates view the project, just off the Interstate 5-Mill Plain Boulevard exit, as an enhancement to the downtown core. It adds to a collection of developments touted as the new gateway to the city center.
"This is a very handsome project right at our front door," said Lee Rafferty, executive director of Vancouver's Downtown Association, a group that promotes efforts to redevelop and enhance the city center.
Rafferty applauded Kassab's 92-unit residential project as one that could go a long way in restoring energy to the area, as opposed to an office project that only houses workers during daytime hours.
"We know that downtown residents are a huge key to extending the hours of vibrancy," Rafferty said. "The people who will be living here will also be recreating, playing and spending here."
The apartment site was the longtime home of a Burgerville, one of the first for the Vancouver-based restaurant chain. It operated for nearly 50 years.