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Aug. 12, 2022

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Senior residential tower in the works for Waterfront Vancouver

12-story tower on Block 18 would include assisted living, memory care

By , Columbian business reporter
3 Photos
Blocks 20 and 18 are adjacent and are currently a single undeveloped field, but they will eventually be divided by a pedestrian path. Block 20 is seen in the foreground of this picture, with Block 18 behind it. A 200-unit senior housing tower is in the works for Block 18.
Blocks 20 and 18 are adjacent and are currently a single undeveloped field, but they will eventually be divided by a pedestrian path. Block 20 is seen in the foreground of this picture, with Block 18 behind it. A 200-unit senior housing tower is in the works for Block 18. Nathan Howard/The Columbian Photo Gallery

Gramor Development and The Springs Living have submitted a preliminary application to build a 12-story senior housing tower on Block 18 of The Waterfront Vancouver.

The pre-application packet was submitted in mid-July by Portland-based GBD Architects on behalf of The Springs Living and property owner Columbia Waterfront, a subsidiary of Gramor. The Springs is a senior living residential company based in McMinnville, Ore., that operates six facilities in the Portland metro area and several additional facilities in cities throughout Oregon and Montana.

The proposed Block 18 building would be 142 to 146 feet tall, putting it in roughly the same ballpark as the 12-story Kirkland Tower under construction at the other end of the Waterfront. Both building designs come close to the 150-foot limit on building heights in the Waterfront district imposed by Federal Aviation Administration guidelines due to the area’s proximity to Pearson Field and Portland International Airport.

The Block 18 building will have 378,293 square feet of gross floor area and feature approximately 200 senior living units. The units will include a mix of Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care designs, which is a common breakdown at most of The Springs’ facilities.

Residential units facing the river are expected to have balconies to take advantage of the view, and the 12th floor will include a rooftop wine bar with an outdoor kitchen and seating, according to the application.

Passing planes, trains and freeway traffic are all anticipated to be major sources of ambient noise, and the packet states that the project will be engineered with noise mitigation features. The building will have approximately 219 parking stalls in a two-level underground garage, with parking served by a continuous valet service, the application said.

Unlike many of the other residential Waterfront projects, the ground floor on Block 18 will not include any retail space, but it is expected to have restaurant uses, including outdoor seating, as part of the ground-floor senior housing program, as well as other amenities facing outward toward walking paths on the sides of the building. Rooftop amenities will be included in a series of “terracing” rooftop sections that are intended to create calm environments, with landscaped roofs on levels 2, 3 and 11, the application said.

The terraces on levels 2 and 3 will face north and are intended to serve the memory care and assisted living units. The memory care terrace will include planters, benches, tables and chairs and interactive components such as water features, and the assisted living terrace will feature a putting green and an outdoor grill and kitchen, the application said.

The 1.3-acre Block 18 is near the western end of the Waterfront district, at the southwest corner of the intersection where Waterfront Way curves north and meets Columbia Way. The western end of the Waterfront is undeveloped, although one other project has been announced: a seven-story residential tower on Block 20, directly west of Block 18.

The Waterfront master plan includes a predefined easement for a pedestrian access path between Blocks 18 and 20, allowing people to walk from Columbia Way down to Waterfront Park. The pre-application narrative states that a similar path will be built on the east side of Block 18, and that the paths on both sides of the building will include benches with wind screens and circular planters with trees.

The north side of The Springs building is expected to include an arrival courtyard with a water feature and pedestrian areas, and the project will include a public art sculpture and plaza near the intersection of Waterfront Way and Columbia Way, including public seating and an overhead shade structure, the application said. A loading entrance will be located on the north side further to the west, farther away from the central pedestrian areas.

The water feature in the north courtyard will include a stream that meanders along the pedestrian path on the east side to connect to an additional pool at the southeastern corner of the site at the edge of Waterfront Park. The plan also mentions tables and chairs, bike racks and exterior lighting among the site furnishings.

The pre-application packet does not include an estimated groundbreaking date or construction timeline for the project. A pre-application conference with the city has been scheduled for 9 a.m. August 15.

The 21-block Waterfront district is rapidly filling up, particularly in the southern row of blocks bordering the river. All of the five Waterfront buildings built so far are in the southern half, and the Block 18 project joins two others in that are in active development; the seven-story tower announced for Block 20, and the Hotel Indigo and Kirkland Tower project, which is currently under construction on Block 4.

Most of the Waterfront district’s northern row of blocks remain unclaimed, although Gramor did announce plans in May for a parking garage on Block 7, which will eventually replace the surface lots currently in place on Blocks 11, 10, 7 and 5.

Columbian business reporter

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