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Feb. 22, 2020

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Upscale 167-unit apartment complex to open in 2 weeks

Wave of activity expected to follow opening of The Uptown

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
4 Photos
Angeles Lopez walks past artwork detailing Portland and Vancouver while preparing to paint in the lobby of The Uptown apartments on Wednesday. The complex is expected to open fully by the end of the month. (Ariane Kunze/The Columbian)
Angeles Lopez walks past artwork detailing Portland and Vancouver while preparing to paint in the lobby of The Uptown apartments on Wednesday. The complex is expected to open fully by the end of the month. (Ariane Kunze/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

You’ve heard of an economic splash? A new, brick apartment complex hopes to jump into uptown Vancouver like a cannonball.

The Uptown, a premium-priced apartment block in the Hough neighborhood, will welcome its first tenants in two weeks, and nearby businesses and city officials expect a wave of activity to follow.

Vancouver-based Cascadia Development Partners wouldn’t say how much of the 167-unit building is already rented, but said demand is clear.

“There is an incredible waiting list for more than 50 percent of the project,” said President David Copenhaver.

Both in style and price, the six-story apartment complex would be at home in Portland’s Pearl District. Retail and commercial space will line Main Street, and prices for rooms will range from $1,515 to about $2,600 for studios, one-bedroom, one-bedroom-plus and two-bedroom units. Commercial tenants have not yet been announced.

The $45 million development also includes street-level apartments on three sides and comes with a second-floor courtyard and a sixth-floor terrace for barbecues and the like. It is bounded by McLoughlin Boulevard and West 17th, Washington and Main streets.

The Washington Street side will include a “pocket park” and an art installation.

Copenhaver, who sits on the city of Vancouver’s City Center Redevelopment Agency and its Downtown Redevelopment Authority, called the area a bridge between downtown and uptown. More and more people want to live and work there, he said, and city and local businesses stand to benefit.

“I think we’re delivering a product that everybody wants,” he said.

The Uptown will offer surface parking, beneath ground parking and parking on the first floor, combining for about 160 spaces. There will be bicycle racks and a tuning station as well. Copenhaver added they are pursuing LEED certification.

Foot traffic

City officials and nearby businesses seem mostly happy about the development.

Besides taking some pressure off the rental market, Teresa Brum, manager of the city’s economic development division, said it could create more jobs. She pointed to a 2011 study by the Center for Housing Policy that found 100 units of housing can create 30 long-term jobs.

She added that businesses nearby are already getting ready. “We’ve already heard from some uptown businesses that they are making improvements in anticipation of more foot traffic in the area,” she said.

One such business is Cellar 55, which operates a wine storage business and a wine bar nearby. Imminent new customers has its owner sprucing up this week, painting, and planning to expand hours and maybe add a kitchen at some point.

“We want to make sure we’re growing and changing with the neighborhood around us,” said owner Michelle Brinning, a member of the Uptown Village Association. “This wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind, because we had that (property) empty for so long.”

Jeremy Cram, owner of the nearby bar The Thirsty Sasquatch, said he was excited but wanted to take a wait-and-see approach. Though he wondered if any of the new commercial space would be leased to a competing bar, he said he’s already seen a lot of new faces in the neighborhood.

“It should bring some good people down to the Thirsty for some beers and stuff,” he said. “I’m hopeful it will tick up.”

Cram added that the bar is hoping to bring in some food offerings to compete with the growing competition in downtown as well. Plus, more development has a way of increasing rents, he said.

“It will pinch me a little bit. It doesn’t feel great, but if business picks up, then it’s just going to be relative to where we’re at now, you know?”

That pinch is something that has other people in the area already concerned. Just two blocks east, an eight-lot block recently sold with a $2.4 million listed price, and two more nearby are set to be developed. Businesses there are still trying to figure out what the changes mean for their future.

Correction: An earlier article misstated which neighborhood contains The Uptown. It is located in the Hough neighborhood.

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