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March 22, 2023

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Vancouver Innovation Center renovations continue

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
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The Vancouver Innovation Center is awaiting its new development. The development plans include a "dense town center" that's a 20-minute neighborhood with all the amenities that a Vancouverite would need at all hours of the day.
The Vancouver Innovation Center is awaiting its new development. The development plans include a "dense town center" that's a 20-minute neighborhood with all the amenities that a Vancouverite would need at all hours of the day. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Since the Vancouver Innovation Center in Fisher’s Landing was purchased by new ownership from New York, much change is happening to transform the former HP headquarters into a fruitful business and living space.

New Blueprint Partners, owned by Marc Esrig and Ron Schinik, purchased 47 acres of land and buildings from SEH America for $35 million and an undisclosed amount for 132 acres of surrounding undeveloped property. Blueprint sealed the deal late last year with its partner Rabina, and the Vancouver City Council approved the master plan in April.

When Blueprint took over, tenant occupancy sat at 45 percent, but through the beginning of a $20 million investment in renovations to the current space, the occupancy is up to 60 percent, Esrig said. The ongoing renovations include upgrading the HVAC system, switching lights to all LED and installing new flooring, paint, and a new security camera, as well as upgrading restrooms and removing outdated common-area features.

“We’re doing a tremendous amount of upgrades behind the scenes,” said Esrig during a tour through the Vancouver Innovation Center with The Columbian.

Esrig said Blueprint hasn’t raised rental rates because they are trying to be competitive in the market. But in the future, he said, rates will increase.

Blueprint is also surveying tenants to get ideas for other workspace amenities, including day care or dog care services.

After buying the property, Blueprint changed the property’s branding from the Vancouver Tech Center to the Vancouver Innovation Center (VIC for short) because the companies that are drawn to the VIC are companies that are innovating in their industries. They include Elux, an LED display research and development company, and Pulse, an antenna and microelectronics analog manufacturer.

Future development

The duo is in the process of purchasing the surrounding 132-acre property for future development. Construction for the first building could be as soon as late next year, but more likely in 2023, Esrig said.

Blueprint, which is the developer of the property, is currently in the design phase for the first building, Esrig said.

Conceptual renderings that are subject to change show an ambitious development on the large property akin to the Columbia Palisades development, north of state Highway 14 and 192nd Avenue.

At the VIC, the renderings shared by Blueprint show about 1,400 apartment units, town homes and additional buildings for light industrial and retail spaces.

The plans also include a 14-acre forest area to retain wildlife and preserve tree views for surrounding neighborhoods.

“We want to be mindful of the community,” Esrig said.

The development plans include a dense town center that’s a “20-minute neighborhood” with all the amenities that a resident would need at all hours of the day.

“Bringing together retail, service and entertainment together in a flexible, eclectic space made for socializing, gathering and exploring, the town center will become known as a destination for energized gatherings of employees, citizens and visitors to strengthen connections and community bonds,” the promotional material states.

“In addition to the storefronts and eateries, a playful mix of seating and spaces lend themselves to a range of pedestrian experiences that enhance the atmosphere for markets, seasonal festivities, concerts and exhibitions,” it said.

Esrig and Schinik founded Blueprint two years ago and own one other property in Milwaukee, Wis.

Esrig, who rents an apartment in Vancouver and frequently visits, said Vancouver landed on his radar because of its proximity to Portland, its tax advantages and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Esrig mentioned he enjoys spending time in the Gorge with his family when they visit.