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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Nov. 29, 2023

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Two new buildings planned at The Academy

Oregon company to buy, develop part of historic property

By , Columbian staff writer
2 Photos
The parking lot west of Providence Academy, along C Street, pictured Friday. Filings with the city of Vancouver show plans to build two mixed-use buildings and parking there.
The parking lot west of Providence Academy, along C Street, pictured Friday. Filings with the city of Vancouver show plans to build two mixed-use buildings and parking there. Ariane Kunze/The Columbian Photo Gallery

Providence Academy is about to buzz like it’s the 19th century all over again.

The Historic Trust, which manages the nearly 150-year-old campus in downtown Vancouver, announced Friday plans to turn nearly half the land there into two mixed-use buildings with apartments and street-level shops.

Wilsonville, Ore.-based Marathon Acquisition & Development will build and own the property as part of a purchase-and-sale agreement. About $85 million is expected to be spent on development.

The sale is expected to clear in the summer and Marathon will break ground in early 2019, according to The Historic Trust. Sales terms were not disclosed.

Permit applications filed with the city of Vancouver last week show plans for two five-story buildings, combining for about 98,000 square feet stretching along C Street, between East 12th Street and Evergreen Boulevard.

About 140 apartment units are planned, according to the filings, as well as 150 parking spaces and 7,800 square feet of ground level commercial space. Mentioned in the filings, are plans for a rooftop terrace, community room, leasing office, exercise facility and bicycle storage and repair.

The former Mexican restaurant and nightclub El Presidente is expected to be demolished later this year.

The plans could turn into some of the most significant development at the site since Mother Joseph and the Sisters of Charity of Providence led construction of the brick buildings in the 1870s.

Mike True, President and CEO of the Historic Trust, told The Columbian that selling the property was always part of the plan.

“We’re not a new dirt-developer. Our role is preserving the past and preserving historic properties, restoring the stories and histories that go into them,” he said.

A lot of the Trust’s work so far has been bridging the past and the present and even into the future.

The nonprofit recently spent $1.8 million renovating Providence Academy, now home to 65 tenants, ranging from other nonprofits to small technology companies to a Pilates studio, True said.

Its properties include city-owned parts of the Vancouver Barracks core, including the West Barracks and Officer’s Row. Those are homes to business offices, a restaurant and the augmented reality company RealWear, that made the West Barracks its headquarters last year.

Adding apartments and more business in the area will help feed the ecosystem at the edge of those historic properties, True said.

“I think it really raises all boats and creates a lot of opportunities for businesses to thrive,” he said. “It brings people down here and brings more activity here on a 24-7 basis — not just during the work week.”

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Columbian staff writer