Development planned at quarry

Former WSDOT site in east Vancouver chosen for mixed use

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

Published:

 
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A Portland developer has submitted preliminary plans to develop an 84-acre former quarry on Southeast 192nd Avenue immediately north of state Highway 14 with a mix of uses include housing, retail, commercial, and offices and a hotel.

The preliminary application to the city's Community and Economic Development department proposes a master plan for the entire property at 4601 S.E. 192nd Ave. The site, which is both east and west of 192nd Ave. and on both sides of Brady Road, contains 51.5 acres of land that can be developed. Because of excavation, much of the land is below grade.

The development proposal calls for about one-quarter of the property to be developed as singe-family residential housing, another one-quarter as retail space. About 20 percent would be multi-family residential, with 14 percent as office space and 8 percent as parks and open space.

Weston Investment Co., a major Portland housing and commercial developer, is the property owner and a partner in the development firm, called 192nd LLC. Planning consulting firm Otak Inc. of Vancouver submitted the proposal for a pre-application conference on the project, which it is calling Riverview Gateway.

WSDOT sold the quarry to Weston Investment in March 2006 for $17.6 million, said Magan Reed, a spokeswoman for the agency. In April of this year, the state sold a small additional piece of land north of the quarry to the developers for $1.5 million, she said.

Weston has contracted since then with Cemex to complete mining and stabilize the site and its slopes for redevelopment, said developer Ed Freeman, a partner in 192nd LLC. ""We purchased it back then knowing there was about five years of mining to finish up the quarry," Freeman said. The mining stretched out a bit longer than five years as demand for aggregate declined during the recession, but that wasn't all bad since demand for development was also down, he said.

The mining work and site preparation is now winding down but will continue through the fall and into next spring as weather permits, he said.

Some of the work that still needs to be done is to improve access to the site, he said.

The project will need sewer and water services extended from 164th Avenue, and it needs to go through the city approval and permitting process, Those steps could take 9 to 12 months before construction can begin, Freeman said.

The developers have no set budget for the project but see demand for housing at the south end of the site and commercial development near state Highway 14, Freeman said. The increase in technology and professional services businesses in the east Vancouver and Camas area should attract a hotel developer, he said.

Freeman described the quarry as unusual in that it is a bit like a daylight basement, open to the south and the west. "It's the front door to east Vancouver and Camas," he said. "We want to do it right."