“We’re excited for the possibilities that this location offers our community,” said Laura Merry, C-Tran’s chief of staff. “A strong transportation network boosts economic development and quality of life, and we certainly support the city’s efforts in planning for the future of our region.”
The purchase will also help solve one of the library’s biggest issues: parking. Additionally, the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program marked the location as a potential place for a Park & Ride.
On Monday, the Vancouver City Council will vote whether to purchase the land next to the library for $12 million. McEnerny-Ogle is optimistic the council will approve it.
Less than market value
If the city council approves the purchase, it will be getting a deal. Appraisers valued the five parcels of land that make up Library Square at $18 million to $20 million. The city will accept the difference as a donation.
The land is owned by Evergreen Investors LLC, an associate of Killian Pacific. Killian Pacific owns the Grand Central retail center and the Columbia Business Center.
“It’s very unheard of for a developer to take off one-third of the price of a piece of property,” McEnerny-Ogle said. “We’re building a community, and they’re part of the community. I think this is part of their vision to be a part of the community and to be an asset.”
“There are no ties here,” she added. “The first thing people usually think of is that they’ll get a kickback. That’s not the case.”
Lance Killian, Killian Pacific’s chief visionary officer, declined to comment.
Past plans for Library Square
Although plans are in motion, the land has a vexing history of failed plans.
Originally home to a car dealership, it was torn down in 2009 after voters approved funding the downtown library in 2006, and plans back then called for a parking garage with 200 public parking spaces to follow.
When the Great Recession hit, the plans were postponed.
In 2018, Vancouver Public Schools announced plans to buy a section of the property for a new elementary school before changing locations. The property was offered to the district for half the fair market value of the property.
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