New building for downtown thrills leaders

101 Building will fill vacant lot at 6th and Main in Vancouver

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor

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Vancouver business and political boosters took turns declaring that Wednesday was a big day for the city’s slowly blossoming downtown. It was, they said, a day that would be remembered as the kickoff for construction of the city’s first new office building in many years.

The kickoff was an afternoon groundbreaking for the 101 Building, a three-story brick and glass structure that will occupy a vacant block on Main Street at West Sixth Street that once housed the notorious Frontier cardroom. A project of Vancouver-based Killian Pacific, the 45,000-square-foot building will offer what Lance Killian describes as “21st century office space” that is in short supply in Clark County.

“We will deliver a project that the community can be proud of,” said Killian, president of Killian Pacific.

The building, which will have no on-site parking, will house offices for Killian Pacific and Mackenzie, the architecture and design firm that is a partner in the building’s construction. It will also house the downtown branch of Pacific Continental Bank. All three of the anchor tenants will relocate from other downtown sites. Some space is still available for lease. Construction should be completed by the end of this year.

The building will have an historic feel with a brick facade, expansive glass entrances, and exposed timbers that evoke a “contemporary industrial feel,” Mackenzie said in a news release. The developers have a goal of achieving a LEED Silver certification for environmentally friendly design. The construction cost was not immediately available from Turner Construction, the project’s general contractor.

The project had plenty of boosters at the groundbreaking. The 101 Building “is the first of many great projects coming into downtown Vancouver,” said Mayor Tim Leavitt. “Vancouver is going to be a world-class urban city. We’re going to be the best on the West Coast.”

Lee Rafferty, executive director of Vancouver’s Downtown Association, praised the Killian family, reminding the crowd of business and political leaders that the last crane on the downtown skyline was for Killian’s construction of the Vancouver Community Library. The 101 Building, on Main Street’s southernmost block, will be “an anchor for Main Street,” she said.

Roger Busse, president of Eugene, Ore.-based Pacific Continental Bank, said the new location will serve as a model for his bank’s future branch offices. The bank’s space will include a community room with seating for 50 guests, he said.

Mostly, though, the prospect of a new building drove the enthusiasm of those who listened to speeches and watched the developers and Leavitt toss the first shovelfuls of dirt into the air.

“To have anything resembling a crane in downtown Vancouver is a fabulous sign,” said Kelly Love, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.