Monday, June 27, 2022
June 27, 2022

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Construction begins on high-end homes along Vancouver waterfront

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
Published:
4 Photos
Construction begins on Riverside Townhomes, a town house complex proposed for a long-vacant lot at 1770 S.E. Columbia River Drive. Each is about 2,500 square feet with a two-car garage on the bottom floor. They're set to be completed between spring and summer 2022.
Construction begins on Riverside Townhomes, a town house complex proposed for a long-vacant lot at 1770 S.E. Columbia River Drive. Each is about 2,500 square feet with a two-car garage on the bottom floor. They're set to be completed between spring and summer 2022. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

There aren’t many raw pieces of undeveloped land near Vancouver’s waterfront, and one of the last, near Beaches Restaurant, is set to become 15 modern-contemporary, high-end town homes.

Romano Capital Inc. is building the three-story town homes at 1770 S.E. Columbia River Drive. Each is about 2,500 square feet with a two-car garage on the bottom floor.

They’re set to be completed between spring and summer 2022, and Romano Capital will sell about half of them for around $1.3 million each; the rest – the ones farther from the river – will be rented because the project is in one of the county’s Opportunity Zones.

Romano Capital Inc. bought the lot at the end of last year, according to President Kess Romano. It was formerly owned by Holt Homes and Realvest Corp., but neither company developed the empty lot. For years, it’s sat near one of the entrances to the Waterfront Renaissance Trail that runs along the river and McMenamins on the Columbia.

Steelhead Architects designed the units to be gapped with space on their second and third floors, “allowing more light to pass through the units, alleviating the feel of one large mass,” said Reid Isaacson, director of development for Romano Capital.

“Consequently, it will have a softer look when you’re standing in front of it,” he said. “This also allowed us to give privacy to the decks between the units, as well as some individuality, which is often lost in attached products.”

“It’s more costly to build the way it’s currently designed, but we think the benefit outweighs the cost,” Isaacson said.

There’s also a ground floor bedroom suite in the town homes, “which is something that we think is going to be unique,” he said. Also, the two rows of town homes are separated by an alley, which cars drive through to get to each parking garage.

Location

Kess Romano said that the location is ideal. It’s within walking distance of Savona Coffee House, Surprise Beach and multiple restaurants. It’s also a quick drive to Portland International Airport.

“It’s a high-convenience spot,” he said.

The lot is undergoing underground development now, and workers will begin constructing the buildings in a few months, Romano said. The high prices of lumber have delayed the project, and he expects the buildings to take 10 months to construct.

The spot lies in one of the county’s seven Opportunity Zones, a program created in 2017 from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The program allows investors to buy membership units in the program’s funds, which grants them several benefits in taxes. If investors keep the investment for at least 10 years, they don’t pay any taxes on capital gains earned from the fund.

The town homes allow owners to own the dirt underneath the unit in addition to the walls and foundation. That’s different than a condominium, which is a legal term for a unit where surrounding condo owners own part of the dirt under each condo, according to Romano.

A small sliver of a grass lot sits between the town homes and the entrance to the Waterfront Renaissance Trail. Romano said the city of Vancouver owns it, and he expects the area to be landscaped.

“That lot there, for a long time, hasn’t been attractive,” Isaacson said. “It will finish the whole waterfront development.”

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