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Plans to redevelop Vancouver riverfront include space for Who Song & Larry’s

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
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Kirkland Development has submitted plans to the city of Vancouver to build a four-building, mixed-use development where Who Song & Larry's and the former Joe's Crab Shack building now stand.
Kirkland Development has submitted plans to the city of Vancouver to build a four-building, mixed-use development where Who Song & Larry's and the former Joe's Crab Shack building now stand. (Otak Inc.) Photo Gallery

New plans for a four-building, mixed-use development on the Columbia River just east of the Interstate 5 Bridge may yet include space for the venerable Who Song & Larry’s Restaurant and Cantina.

Kirkland Development recently submitted the plans for the 2.4-acre property to the city of Vancouver following its purchase in September for about $14.55 million, according to county property records.

Kirkland Development, owned by Kristin and Dean Kirkland, has sought to develop the property for several years and released initial plans in 2018.

The new owner of the property — a company called Renaissance Boardwalk Ventures, also owned by the Kirklands — is seeking to work out a deal with Who Song & Larry’s to potentially create a new space for the Mexican restaurant, according to Randy Sharpe, president and CEO of Xperience Restaurant Group, owner of the restaurant.

“We’re in close contact and working with the new owners to be able to stay there and operate,” Sharpe told The Columbian. “We’re definitely going to stay there, maybe with a remodel. There are several options.”

The renderings that Kirkland Development and Otak Inc. submitted to the city of Vancouver for the site show a sleek and modern style of buildings that reflect The Waterfront Vancouver development to the west. They’ll be built upon an underground garage with 400 to 500 parking spots, according to the plans.

The buildings, with a blue-and-white appearance, are similar to the Kirkland Urban development in Kirkland, Wash., according to Dean Kirkland, chairman of Vancouver-based Kirkland Development.

The project will include an eight-story apartment building with 200 to 225 units and three retail buildings that are three or four stories tall. The total estimated cost is $150 million, Kirkland said.

Kirkland also plans on building outdoor escalators, likely the first in Vancouver, to bring people from the parking garage up to the eateries, shops and apartments.

Plans include a 25-foot-wide boardwalk that will connect The Waterfront Vancouver to the Columbia River Renaissance Trail.

The location now has a dilapidated wood boardwalk and fishing pier near the former Joe’s Crab Shack building. As part of the development plan, the current boardwalk and two buildings will be torn down.

“It’s seen better days,” Sharpe said. “I think if those renderings, if they come to fruition, it’s going to be an amazing place for Vancouver.”

Construction is planned for next summer, Kirkland said, and he intends to have the development up to LEED Gold standards for environmental friendliness.

“The site on the east side of the bridge is the first thing you see when you enter Vancouver from the south. It’s an iconic spot,” Kirkland said. “Vancouver’s got a great community.”

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