Consultants to the Port of Vancouver on Thursday rolled out numerous different design concepts for rejuvenating the port’s 13-acre Terminal 1 waterfront property. The concepts ranged from putting green roofs on terraced buildings and installing a traffic-calming corridor to creating a specialized retail market and merging blocks to generate a campus setting.
Thursday’s meeting was part of a larger process aimed at developing a master plan outlining potential commercial, retail and public uses at the 13-acre downtown waterfront site between Columbia and Esther streets. The Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay is located at the terminal.
Port commissioners made no final decisions but weighed in on what they liked and didn’t like about the alternatives delivered in a slide presentation by members of NBBJ, a Seattle-based architecture and design firm.
“I want the highest and best use,” said Commissioner Jerry Oliver, noting that one concept, involving the creation of a public open space as part of a grand circle, takes up too much room.
Toward the end of Thursday’s public meeting, John Savo, a principal of NBBJ, said the initial concept plans and the preferred concept that eventually emerge from the process will be “hybrids” of certain ideas.
All of the concepts that were presented involved, in one way or another, the following buildings and uses: a port headquarters/mixed-use office building; a hotel/hospitality building; “marketplace” improvements to Terminal 1; open spaces; and future office/mixed-use buildings.
Thursday’s gathering ran too long to include the last agenda item, public comment, as part of the meeting’s publicly noticed time frame of noon to 1:30 p.m. Out of apparent concerns the port would still have a quorum of commissioners after 1:30 p.m., Oliver and Commissioner Brian Wolfe left the meeting room. Commissioner Nancy Baker remained. Port staff invited attendees to stay and give input, gave them the port’s website so they could provide comments and handed out comment cards.
Multiple people spoke. One person said noise from airplanes could negatively affect the waterfront site. “It is a serious issue,” Savo replied.
“We need good public restrooms,” another person said of the site’s potential amenities. One person expressed concerns that commissioners seemed to like the design concepts that involved less green space.
Commissioners are expected to approve a preferred plan in August. That plan would then be presented to the city of Vancouver for its approval sometime in September or October.
NBBJ will take the input it received Thursday and develop initial concepts. Those initial concepts will be presented to the public during an open house to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, at the Terminal 1 amphitheater.
For now, the port and its consultants are swimming in ideas. At one point, the consultants asked commissioners whether they’d want a new port headquarters close to the waterfront or further back from it. Wolfe said the port’s staff wants the headquarters at the 13-acre site but that commissioners haven’t discussed it. Oliver agreed, saying he would be “hesitant to move” the port’s headquarters there.
The port hired NBBJ for up to $300,000 to write a master plan for the Terminal 1 property. The port also hired Leland Consulting Group of Portland for a contract not to exceed $250,000 to help develop a mixed-use building at Terminal 1. The new structure is to include space for Red Lion Hotels Corp., which now operates the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay at the port-owned site.
The port has said it wants the waterfront property to complement other city parks and projects, as well as Tualatin, Ore.-based Gramor Development’s plan for a $1.3 billion commercial-residential redevelopment of Vancouver’s 32-acre waterfront.