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June 27, 2022

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Tower Mall’s walls start to fall

Demolition making way for city’s new Heights District development

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
Published:
4 Photos
An excavator loads debris into trucks Wednesday at Vancouver's former Tower Mall. The building is being demolished as part of The Heights District Plan, an initiative by the city of Vancouver to transform the site into a mixed commercial and residential space.
An excavator loads debris into trucks Wednesday at Vancouver's former Tower Mall. The building is being demolished as part of The Heights District Plan, an initiative by the city of Vancouver to transform the site into a mixed commercial and residential space. (Photos by Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Tower Mall, Vancouver’s first shopping mall, is being demolished to make way for the new Heights District development spearheaded by the city of Vancouver.

The demolition, conducted by contractor 3 Kings Environmental, began in late October and is expected to last through March, said Pete Capell, capital projects manager for the city. The total cost of the demolition is about $1.9 million.

On Wednesday, four excavators tore the large building’s material down and loaded it onto trucks. The contractor will also soon mobilize a crusher to crush concrete and fill a hole left where the building once stood.

Crews will tear down the smaller adjacent Allstate and Bank of America building after finishing the Tower Mall building.

While the property will remain mostly undeveloped next year, the city is planning the infrastructure of the surrounding 62 acres that will transform the area into a cluster of residential, commercial and hospitality buildings as well as streets, parks and other space.

Patrick Quinton — who serves as the city’s economic development director, a new position — said the city is working with a consultant company called First Forty Feet to develop the entire plan, which includes the phases of development for the property.

The city says it eventually will sell some of the blocks to developers, but none of those details will be set until at least a year from now. The entire project is estimated to take about 20 years, according to the city’s website.

Plans include 1,340 residential units, 56,000 square feet of office space and 83,000 square feet of hospitality space.

Quinton said that next year, while the city develops plans for the property, it may use some of the land for community events such as movie screenings, food events and other “creative ideas.”

The city purchased the 12-acre Tower Mall property with the 186,000-square-foot mall building at 5411 E. Mill Plain Blvd. in 2017 for $5 million.

The Tower Mall was built in 1970. It was the city’s first indoor mall; Vancouver Mall opened in 1977.

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