Washington’s 2019 capital budget includes a big win for the Port of Vancouver: a $4.7 million allocation for the port’s planned redevelopment of its Terminal 1 site.
Port officials said the latest round of funding is a major step forward for the project and will go toward two key pieces of the plan: the renovation of the waterfront amphitheater and the construction of a stormwater facility that will treat runoff from the area.
“It’s a huge impetus for this project,” said Abbi Russell, communications director with the Port of Vancouver.
The Terminal 1 site is located on former industrial land between The Waterfront Vancouver development and the Interstate 5 Bridge. The port’s plan for the area includes a hotel, two mixed-use buildings and a public market building in the same vein as Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
Last year’s state budget allocated $1.3 million for the project, which the port used for ground stabilization work and construction of part of the Waterfront Renaissance Trail through the Terminal 1 site.
Russell said the port received the entirety of the state funds that it asked for this year, and credited its success to the support of Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, and the rest of the Southwest Washington delegation.
“This is a project our community has continually told us they want to see built,” Port CEO Julianna Marler said in a statement. “This investment by the state of Washington leverages current public and private investments and gets Terminal 1 off to a strong start, so we can build a world-class waterfront that connects our community and brings us all together on the Columbia River.”
The state funding is expected to cover the majority of the cost of the amphitheater renovation and stormwater facility, Russell said, and the port will make up the difference if there are any funding gaps down the road.
Both projects are scheduled to undergo design work this year, with construction anticipated to take place in 2020 and 2021, although the exact schedules will depend on the outcome of the design process and scheduling opportunities with contractors.
The amphitheater sits on a pier above the Columbia River directly west of the former Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay, which is slated to be replaced with the public marketplace building.
The pilings under the eastern half of the pier are a century old and need to be replaced, so the Terminal 1 plan calls for the building to be demolished. But according to Russell, the western half was built separately around 1990, even though it appears to be part of the same contiguous structure.
“The amphitheater is actually more modern that what’s under WareHouse ’23 (in the former Red Lion building) today,” she said.
Some ground stabilization work is needed on the structure and underlying soil to bring it up to modern seismic standards, she said, but the amphitheater is in good enough condition to be renovated rather than completely rebuilt.
The renovated amphitheater will be called Vancouver Landing, and it will continue to serve as a docking point for the American Empress river cruise ship. Early concept renderings of the site show the amphitheater’s concrete steps replaced with a green area and a wooden walking path that connects to the Waterfront Renaissance Trail along the riverfront.
The new stormwater facility will be called the East Portal and will be located on the eastern side of the future market, between the building and Columbia Way. Early concept art shows the Waterfront Renaissance Trail crossing over it on a boardwalk.
“Right now, we don’t actually have a (stormwater) collection site,” Russell said. “It’s such an old facility that it just goes into the Columbia River, so this will be a huge change for water quality.”