Vancouver Waterfront getting $1.3 million water pump

Project expected to employ local contractors, Cain says; work will benefit city, port

By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer

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Before developers can bring to life the vision of a gleaming cityscape along the Columbia River waterfront, they first need a new set of pipes.

A $1.3 million project to build a new water pump and two new sewer lines at the waterfront has been put out to bid, developers announced Thursday morning. Construction outfit Rotschy Inc. and civil engineering firm HDJ Design Group, both of Vancouver, are said to be in talks to take the project together.

“We seek opportunities to work with local contractors where possible,” said Barry Cain, president of Gramor Development Inc. and a member of the investment group behind the waterfront’s development.

The project consists of building 5,000 feet of sewer line to serve the looming waterfront development and a large submersible pump system. The pump and the lines are both being constructed and installed between Columbia Street and West Second Street. The lines will then run alongside the north end of the 32-acre waterfront development area, under the north access road.

Construction on the Grant Street Pier began this summer, designed by public artist Larry Kirkland.

The construction isn’t expected to close any streets, according to officials at Gramor, adding that they don’t expect businesses to be impacted, either. Construction on the pump will begin in mid-November with the hopes of project completion by summer 2017.

A rising tide of development is coming to the waterfront, spanning 22 city blocks, necessitating a new-and-improved wastewater system. The original system was built in 1947 and rebuilt in 1998, but several office buildings, restaurants, hotels and apartment complexes are going to put high demand on the system. Construction is already underway on the first six buildings, the pier and the 7-acre Waterfront Park, which will be completed by mid-2017.

Developers said the new pipes will increase capacity more than tenfold, enabling an output of 1,961 gallons per minute compared with the current system’s 100-gallons-per-minute output. In addition to servicing the forthcoming buildings of the district, the new pump will service the city and the Port of Vancouver, as well.

“We’re excited about the progress Gramor is making on the infrastructure for this phase of the development,” said Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes in a news release. “It’s great to watch the development unfolding on the waterfront, and everyone is looking forward to the day when Vancouver residents and visitors can visit and experience the city’s vibrant urban waterfront and park.”

At an estimated $1.5 billion price tag, the waterfront is poised to be one of the largest mixed-use developments on the West Coast, developers say. They have blueprinted 1.2 million square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of restaurant space and 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail.