Tuesday, June 22, 2021
June 22, 2021

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HP submits application for 1.5 million-square-foot campus in east Vancouver

Deal with city was announced in December; application provides first look at plans for former English Pit site

By , Columbian business reporter
Published:

Printer and PC maker HP Inc. has submitted a preliminary application to the city of Vancouver detailing its plans for a new corporate campus at Section 30, the site of the former English Pit gravel mine. The site is directly north of the Columbia Tech Center, where HP’s current Vancouver offices are located.

The city announced a deal in December that would see HP purchase and develop 68 acres. The city envisions the 553-acre Section 30 area as a future office and light industrial district, and HP’s initial investment was seen as a potential catalyst for future development.

HP never directly confirmed its plans for the site, so the pre-application packet offers the first real glimpse at the future campus.

Site layout

The plans detail a contiguous 68-acre development area along a segment of Northeast 184th Avenue that would be extended north from the intersection with Southeast First Street. The extension would include roundabouts to connect to future extensions of Northeast Third, Sixth and Ninth streets inside Section 30.

The plan divides the HP area into five building development sites, lined up along the west side of the road from Southeast First Street to the future Northeast Ninth Street. A parking lot would span most of the length of the row on the west side of the buildings, stretching west to the edge of the Section 30 site, with a private access road running between the buildings and the lot.

The pre-app packet states that the parking lot would be buffered from the adjacent neighborhood by a large hill due to the fact that most of Section 30 is significantly below grade after years of mining activity. The existing English Estate Winery along First Street would remain in place, immediately south of the HP parking lot.

The Northeast 184th Avenue extension would be built to support bike and pedestrian traffic, and would include a shared-use path on the west side of the street. The company also proposes a monument to the pioneering English family in the form of benches and an informational sign near the intersection with Northeast Third Street.

The multibuilding development would be constructed in phases and would ultimately include up to 1.5 million square feet of building space, more space than there is in Vancouver Mall. The packet lists a wide range of possible uses including office, research and development, manufacturing and production, industrial services and light industrial uses, as well as possible supporting uses such as small-scale retail and restaurants.

Development plan

The project’s first phase would focus on the two southernmost buildings and the nearby sections of the parking lot, according to the packet. Phase One would include up to 330,000 gross square feet of building space. Work on the other buildings and parking lot extensions would progress north in phases, one site at a time.

According to the city’s December announcement, Phase One will occupy about 28 acres, and will cost a minimum of $50 million to $80 million to develop. That would leave 40 acres for the future phases, and HP’s deal with the city includes an option for the company to purchase another 30 acres for additional expansion, potentially bringing the total campus area to 98 acres.

The city would kick in about $3.5 million worth of infrastructure improvements in the Section 30 area during the first phase of the project, according to the terms of the deal announced in December.

Chicago-based real estate and development firm JLL will serve as the project manager for the development through its Portland office, according to the packet. A site plan diagram also indicates that the Portland architecture firm ZGF — locally known for designing the Washington State University Vancouver campus — will be involved with the project.

In a letter included with the pre-application, JLL said it hoped to work with city staff to develop an updated master plan for the Section 30 site that will include more specific details about the HP campus.

A pre-application conference with the city has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 25.

HP in Vancouver

HP is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., and has offices throughout the world, but its Vancouver facility is one of several offices that are at the heart of the company’s 3D printing division, where much of its research and development takes place.

Hewlett-Packard Co., HP Inc.’s corporate predecessor, began operating in Vancouver in 1979. The local arm of the company at one time employed thousands of workers before the company outsourced its printer manufacturing. HP remains one of Clark County’s largest employers today, with about 700 workers and another 400 full-time contractors, according to estimates from city staff.

HP currently operates out of two office buildings at the Columbia Tech Center — a main office building which it shares with PeaceHealth and a 58,000-square-foot expansion office which it opened in 2016.

Despite the pre-app filing, HP remained mum about its plans for the Section 30 site.

“We have a long history in Vancouver and are committed to our local business,” a company spokesperson said in an email. “We continue to explore opportunities that support our long-term presence in the community. We have no immediate plans to change our existing real estate footprint or begin development of this new site.”

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