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Developers mine old quarry for apartments, retail in east Vancouver

Proposal includes residential, office, retail project in former Fisher Quarry

By , Columbian business reporter
Published:
2 Photos
Conceptual renderings included in the pre-application packet from Romano Development and Otak show the size and orientation of the proposed Eleva apartment development at Columbia Palisades. The proposed project would be located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Southeast 192nd Avenue and Southeast Brady Road.
Conceptual renderings included in the pre-application packet from Romano Development and Otak show the size and orientation of the proposed Eleva apartment development at Columbia Palisades. The proposed project would be located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Southeast 192nd Avenue and Southeast Brady Road. (Contributed by Romano Development and Otak) Photo Gallery

Vancouver-based Romano Development and Portland-based architecture firm Otak have submitted a pre-application packet for a trio of mixed-use residential buildings in the Columbia Palisades area in east Vancouver. The project is called the Eleva.

The proposed Eleva buildings would sit on a roughly 5-acre site at the southwest corner of the intersection of Southeast 192nd Avenue and Southeast Brady Road, north of state Highway 14.

Romano president Kess Romano said the apartments will be “mid- to high-end,” with many taking advantage of the panoramic views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood offered by the project’s location.

“We look at it as being one of the premier multifamily projects in the county,” he said.

Columbia Palisades is a master planned development area that encompasses the 84-acre eastern half of the former Fisher Quarry site, including all of the former quarry land east of 192nd Avenue as well as the Eleva site and another parcel immediately northwest of the Brady Road intersection.

The 98-acre western half of the former quarry is being developed under a separate master plan called Riverview Gateway. The Eleva packet narrative states that the project would conform to both the Columbia Palisades Master Plan and the Riverview Gateway Design Guidelines.

The proposed buildings would collectively include 164 residential units and 29 extended-stay units along with ground floor office and commercial spaces. Residential units would be on the upper floors and the extended-stay units would be on both the ground and upper floors.

Kess Romano described the extended-stay units as fully furnished apartment units targeting the business community in Camas and east Vancouver.

“A hotel is nice for a few days, and then it gets to be a little cramped,” he said. “This is going to feel a lot more like an apartment or a condo.”

An included site diagram shows the buildings wrapping around the northern, eastern and southern sides of the site, with parking in the center and on the western side. The proposed development would include 307 on-site parking spaces, equating to about 1.5 spaces per unit on average.

The site diagram describes two of the three buildings as five-story structures, broken up into smaller connected sections. The third would be a single-story structure with a smaller footprint, focused on office or retail uses.

“There’s ground floor office space in the other two buildings, as well, but that one that’s the standalone is purely an office space project,” said Reid Isaacson, director of development at Romano.

There will be a common area, including a rooftop deck, on the building at the southeast corner of the site, Isaacson said.

A pre-application conference with the city has been scheduled for 9 a.m. June 3.

The project has been in development for about seven months, and the developers are hoping to finish the design and permitting work over the winter in order to break ground in summer 2022, Kess Romano said. Project completion would be targeted for about a year after that.

Romano and Otak already have other projects in the works at Columbia Palisades. Romano is currently building a luxury townhouse project called Boulder Ridge at the southeast corner of Columbia Palisades, and Otak is working on an adjacent seven-story condo building called Ledges from Vancouver-based Kirkland Development. Otak is also involved in the Riverview Gateway development.

The first Boulder Ridge units will be ready for clients to move in starting in July, Kess Romano said, and the last of them will likely be completed in the first quarter of 2022. Approximately half of the units are currently pre-sold, he said.

The Fisher Quarry ran for 135 years, and the site was eyed for redevelopment once mining operations wound down. Overall planning and development of Columbia Palisades is being guided by Columbia Palisades Corp., a joint venture from Portland-based developers Ed Freeman and Joe Weston. The master plan was announced in 2016.

The first individual project at the site, a new Vancouver Clinic, broke ground in 2019 and opened in November. Houses have also been built on several lots along the bluff on the northern and western sides of the site. The master plan calls for a concentration of commercial development at the lower central portion of the site including hotel, office and retail uses and a central pedestrian promenade.

The master plan for Riverview Gateway, from Vancouver-based Hurley Development, was unveiled in November and calls for at least 17 buildings with mixed-use housing, retail and office uses.

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