The Vancouver Housing Authority and the city are working in partnership on the project. On Thursday, the housing authority’s board of commissioners unanimously approved a $450,000 pre-development fund to complete architectural, environmental and other pre-development activities.
The agency plans to buy the 1.7-acre surplus property from Vancouver Public Schools.
Pastor said the site is an ideal location being a rare undeveloped green field in the core of the city that’s also on a transit line. VHA vice chair Joan Caley said she hopes the project will be designed to fit in with other improvements planned for Fourth Plain.
The commons would be a big step in Fourth Plain Forward, a multiyear plan to improve the international business district along Fourth Plain roughly between Interstate 5 and Northeast 65th Avenue by strengthening small businesses, beautifying the district and making roads safer.
Those interested in getting involved in the process should contact Pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org. She said a community engagement process will get going over the next few months.
Transforming the field into an apartment building and about 10,000 square feet of commercial space is estimated to cost $21.2 million. Funding sources would include $1 million from the city for the commercial space, $850,000 from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund and a $7.5 million loan/bond.
If the project is deemed feasible, the housing authority will submit an application for state Department of Commerce Housing Trust Fund money in September and a 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit application next year.
The apartments would be for low-income households earning below 60 percent of the area median income, which is currently $52,740 for a four-person household.