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Joe’s Crab Shack, Who Song & Larry’s site to become new development

Vancouver location will feature residential, retail, office, hotel and restaurant space

By , Columbian business reporter
3 Photos
Kirkland Development has purchased the property that currently houses Who Song & Larry's, background, and Joe's Crab Shack, as seen Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2018.
Kirkland Development has purchased the property that currently houses Who Song & Larry's, background, and Joe's Crab Shack, as seen Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2018. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Vancouver-based Kirkland Development plans to build a mixed-use development on a 3.5-acre site along the Columbia River, east of the Interstate 5 Bridge, the company announced Wednesday. The property is currently home to two restaurants: Joe’s Crab Shack and Who Song & Larry’s.

“This is an incredible opportunity to re-envision a key section of Vancouver’s waterfront. Our goal is to bring new life to this area, and to create a unique destination for Vancouver residents and visitors alike,” said Dean Kirkland, Kirkland Development chairman.

The deal to purchase and develop the property has been in the works for more than two years, said Amy Hunter, an associate with the Weinstein PR agency. The riverfront site was originally developed in 1980.

The project will result in closing Joe’s Crab Shack and Who Song & Larry’s, although Hunter said Kirkland Development is talking with both restaurants about continuing as part of the new development.

Kirkland has partnered with Portland-based architecture firm Otak Inc. for the project, which is currently early in the design phase. (Otak has a Vancouver office, led by Tim Leavitt, the former Vancouver mayor.) Construction is expected to take about two years, and the project’s overall cost is estimated to be $200 million.

Clark County records list the previous owner for both restaurant properties as a company called ACW Properties LLC.

There is no timeline for when the restaurants will close. And the project does not have a groundbreaking date.

The proposed two-building complex would include 300,000 square feet of residential space and 50,000 square feet for retail. The project is planned to include office, hotel and restaurant space in addition to the residential component. The buildings will include parking.

“It will be the perfect continuation of the city’s newly revitalized waterfront, and will bring exciting new life to the other side of the Interstate Bridge,” Kirkland said. “As a Vancouver native, I’m incredibly thrilled and proud to be helping reshape one of our city’s biggest assets — its waterfront. It’s even more special since the location is in many ways the visual gateway to both Vancouver and the state of Washington as you cross the bridge from Portland.”

Early conceptual renderings show two buildings of roughly equal size that are each approximately nine stories tall. Each building in the concept rendering features a multistory glass frontage on the lower floors facing the river, looking out at a walking path along the river’s edge.

Details about the internal configuration of the towers — such as if one will be for residential use and the other for hotel use — are not yet known, Hunter said.

Kirkland said he was drawn to the site because it presented an opportunity to revitalize a key piece of Vancouver’s waterfront, and because he wanted to retain the site as an important place for the Vancouver community.

“It’s the last great piece of property that abuts the river for commercial use,” he said.

A short city-owned pier runs along the river’s edge to the west of Joe’s Crab Shack and connects to a narrow walking path along the south side of both restaurants, eventually connecting to the city’s Waterfront Renaissance Trail.

The pier was built in 1991 to serve as a safe and accessible fishing spot, but closed in 2007 due to a deteriorating support structure and issues with the foundation. The pathway by the restaurants is also closed. Kirkland said his goal is to incorporate the trail into the new development to create a connected waterfront walking area.

“To connect the walking trail is very important to me,” Kirkland said.

Vancouver has seen a flurry of development along the waterfront to the west of the I-5 Bridge in recent years, but the new Kirkland project would be the first modern waterfront development on the immediate east side of the freeway. Most of the other recent east-side development has been in the waterfront Columbia Shores neighborhood, located about a mile east of the bridge.

At the Terminal 1 site on the west side of the bridge, the Port of Vancouver wants to build a hotel and community market. The port-owned site is currently home to the restaurant WareHouse ’23, formerly the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at The Quay.

On the west side of Terminal 1, multiple developers are working on new projects on 21 blocks of former industrial land that comprise The Waterfront Vancouver.

The new Kirkland project will be the company’s second Vancouver waterfront project. The company is building the Hotel Indigo and Kirkland Tower at The Waterfront Vancouver, which will include 40 luxury condominiums. That project is slated for completion in 2020.

Columbian business reporter

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