The desire for a grocery store dates to at least the 2007 Vancouver City Center Vision Plan. The plan says the city should “encourage key support services, such as a full-service grocery store,” according to Chad Eiken, Vancouver’s director of community and economic development.
In 2017, the Vancouver City Council attempted to make a deal that would have developed Block 10, near Esther Short Park, into a grocery store and apartments.
The deal fell apart in 2019 after no grocers could be signed; Block 10 is now in development as a six-story, mixed-use office/residential building from Vancouver-based Holland Partner Group and Arlington, Va.-based EJF Capital.
Eiken wrote in an email to The Columbian that in the last couple of years, an increasing downtown Vancouver population burnished the appeal to a grocer.
Since 2007, 949 new residential units have been constructed and occupied downtown. Currently, there are 2,397 units in downtown that are either under construction or in the permitting process, “which will dramatically increase the residential density – and consequently customer base – in the next few years,” Eiken wrote in the email.
“New Seasons Market’s announcement that they will open a full-service grocery store in 2023 represents another significant milestone in the ongoing revitalization of Vancouver’s downtown, and it signals a growing confidence in where the downtown is heading,” wrote Eiken.
Vancouver-based Cascadia Development Partners is the project developer. The company did not provide any further information about the project.
The empty block, which sits on a high-traffic corner near the Mill Plain entrance to downtown, is owned by JTH Investments of Woodland and Jay Houser. Clark County property records show that JTH Investments purchased the block in December 2017 for $2.3 million.