Waterfront Gateway Project

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The chance to vision and design a prime site in downtown Vancouver has been opened for developer interest.

The Vancouver City Center Redevelopment Authority (CCRA) is seeking a development team for a 6.4-acre city-owned site in downtown that will become a key part of the gateway to the riverfront, which has emerged as a desirable destination for businesses, residents and visitors.

The CCRA issued a Request for Qualifications: Development Opportunity for a New District in Downtown Vancouver (RFQ) in March 2021.

Responses to the RFQ were due in June 2021, and are currently under review by the CCRA.

The RFQ is available in the Document Library found on this page.

The largely undeveloped properties are bounded by W. 6th (north), Columbia (east) and Grant (west) streets and the railroad berm (south) and are adjacent to Vancouver City Hall (415 W. 6th St.) and the Vancouver Convention Center/Hilton Hotel (301 W. 6th St.). The site uses the working title “Waterfront Gateway."



The site is strategically located between two important centers of redevelopment activity - the Columbia River waterfront and historic downtown core. It represents one of the largest remaining undeveloped contiguous properties in the downtown area and is a premier development opportunity for the region.

The CCRA is seeking teams composed of a developer and designer capable of both designing and building office, commercial, retail and housing in a multi-story mixed-use environment. The opportunity is rooted in a community vision developed over the last two years that offers initial ideas and design considerations for the site, including a public parking garage and potential future expansion of the convention center.

The CCRA has been designated by City Council to lead the planning and development of Waterfront Gateway through a Memorandum of Understanding, including the search for a development team. It has hosted a series of visioning workshops with its board members, the public, City staff and design consultants to offer initial ideas and a vision for the site’s future.

The input has been consolidated into the RFQ’s Part 3: Vision section to articulate a community vision, including what activities, land uses, destinations and types of places would make Waterfront Gateway an inviting and active district.


“The RFQ is an important step toward shaping the heart of downtown Vancouver by creating a fun, innovative and inspiring district connecting Esther Short Park to our vibrant waterfront," said CCRA Board President Richard Keller. “Accessibility, inclusion and providing a place available to all income levels will be a major focus of our efforts.”


The CCRA appreciates the interest of those in the real estate development and design industries in responding to the RFQ and looks forward to selecting a development partner with whom it can collaborate to realize the vision for the site.

Following selection, the CCRA and City of Vancouver look forward to developing a master plan for the site with the development team. The CCRA will then negotiate the necessary agreements with the development team to purchase or lease parcels for development in accordance with the master plan.

In addition to the community vision, the RFQ includes background on the downtown area, relevant information about the site’s parcels, planning and zoning considerations, resources and incentives, submittal requirements and evaluation process, and a proposed schedule.



During Fall 2019, the City provided an online engagement opportunity for the Vancouver community to share their ideas for Waterfront Gateway’s future. Input from these exercises and other community meetings was used by CCRA to develop the RFQ’s community vision.


The chance to vision and design a prime site in downtown Vancouver has been opened for developer interest.

The Vancouver City Center Redevelopment Authority (CCRA) is seeking a development team for a 6.4-acre city-owned site in downtown that will become a key part of the gateway to the riverfront, which has emerged as a desirable destination for businesses, residents and visitors.

The CCRA issued a Request for Qualifications: Development Opportunity for a New District in Downtown Vancouver (RFQ) in March 2021.

Responses to the RFQ were due in June 2021, and are currently under review by the CCRA.

The RFQ is available in the Document Library found on this page.

The largely undeveloped properties are bounded by W. 6th (north), Columbia (east) and Grant (west) streets and the railroad berm (south) and are adjacent to Vancouver City Hall (415 W. 6th St.) and the Vancouver Convention Center/Hilton Hotel (301 W. 6th St.). The site uses the working title “Waterfront Gateway."



The site is strategically located between two important centers of redevelopment activity - the Columbia River waterfront and historic downtown core. It represents one of the largest remaining undeveloped contiguous properties in the downtown area and is a premier development opportunity for the region.

The CCRA is seeking teams composed of a developer and designer capable of both designing and building office, commercial, retail and housing in a multi-story mixed-use environment. The opportunity is rooted in a community vision developed over the last two years that offers initial ideas and design considerations for the site, including a public parking garage and potential future expansion of the convention center.

The CCRA has been designated by City Council to lead the planning and development of Waterfront Gateway through a Memorandum of Understanding, including the search for a development team. It has hosted a series of visioning workshops with its board members, the public, City staff and design consultants to offer initial ideas and a vision for the site’s future.

The input has been consolidated into the RFQ’s Part 3: Vision section to articulate a community vision, including what activities, land uses, destinations and types of places would make Waterfront Gateway an inviting and active district.


“The RFQ is an important step toward shaping the heart of downtown Vancouver by creating a fun, innovative and inspiring district connecting Esther Short Park to our vibrant waterfront," said CCRA Board President Richard Keller. “Accessibility, inclusion and providing a place available to all income levels will be a major focus of our efforts.”


The CCRA appreciates the interest of those in the real estate development and design industries in responding to the RFQ and looks forward to selecting a development partner with whom it can collaborate to realize the vision for the site.

Following selection, the CCRA and City of Vancouver look forward to developing a master plan for the site with the development team. The CCRA will then negotiate the necessary agreements with the development team to purchase or lease parcels for development in accordance with the master plan.

In addition to the community vision, the RFQ includes background on the downtown area, relevant information about the site’s parcels, planning and zoning considerations, resources and incentives, submittal requirements and evaluation process, and a proposed schedule.



During Fall 2019, the City provided an online engagement opportunity for the Vancouver community to share their ideas for Waterfront Gateway’s future. Input from these exercises and other community meetings was used by CCRA to develop the RFQ’s community vision.

Guest Book

At a recent meeting of the City Center Redevelopment Authority (CCRA), board members and several members of the public were broken into three separate groups to discuss how to apply the principles of successful downtowns. 

Using a map of the Waterfront Gateway area, the groups sketched and diagrammed their vision for the placement of amenities, spaces and land uses that support those principles.

The following three vision concepts were developed using the ideas and principles envisioned by the groups. Please tell us what you think of these three visions:

VISION 1: JEWEL IN THE CORE


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  • Reinforce Esther Street as a pedestrian and bicycle parkway
  • Integrate the landscaping and materials currently installed at the Esther Street underpass into the rest of the district
  • Create a highly visible, central activity node and signature destination south of City Hall
  • Prioritize ground floor retail at the corner of 6th Street and Esther Street

VISION 2: REINFORCE THE GRID


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  • Esther Street is the primary connection to the waterfront
  • East/west linear park along Phil Arnold Way that extends through to Grant Street
  • West block is anchored by a prominent retail development at the corner of 6th and Esther streets
  • Food and beverage anchor at southeast corner of the district, along Columbia Street

VISION 3: BRIDGE THE TRACKS


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  • Additional pedestrian and bicycle overpass connect to the waterfront
  • Vacate Phil Arnold Way between Columbia Street and Esther Street; install a fully-accessible bicycle and pedestrian street
  • Plaza on the west side of Esther Street
  • Gateway into an arts and makerspace development on the corner of Esther Street and Phil Arnold Way
  • Retail anchor at the southwest corner of 6th and Esther streets
  • Adaptive reuse of the existing Webber Building on Columbia Street


QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BELOW (Please be succinct!)

  • What ideas do you like or dislike?
  • What are the similarities or differences between ideas?
  • Are any ideas missing?

Note that comments submitted using this form will be visible on this page. The only identifier included with your comment will be your username. No other information about you will be visible or accessible.
CLOSED: This public engagement period has ended.

I prefer vision 1 because it has more emphasis on pedestrians and cyclists. I agree more parking is needed downtown including for Saturday Market. I suggest a large parking structure at Main and Mill Plain with Street-level grocery store and a free hop on hop off tram from Uptown to the waterfront and along Columbia Way. Note there needs to be more than one entrance and exit- the City Center lot is impossible to leave after a big event such as Xmas tree lighting. Include a central food court or food truck hub. Reduce railroad noise along Arnold Way with a wall and trees. A bike way along Esther does need to be tied to the west side bike path which also needs to connect to Uptown and a good crossing of Mill Plain/16th couplet. It is important to keep rents low so shops are affordable. The waterfront feels expensive and exclusive. How about adding some mixed cost housing units?

Peter Fels almost 2 years ago

I like Vision 1 because of the activity node, Vision 2 for thinking about extra parking, and Vision 3 because of the additional connections to the waterfront. Perhaps something that includes all three would be in order? Thanks!

JJ almost 2 years ago

I support keeping the vehicular connection on Esther Street that is shown on #2 and #3. I also appreciate the parking options shown in #2. We need easy to find parking availability to these amenities, otherwise those that don't live downtown (our east side residents) will decide it is not worth the trouble of traveling here.



I support the option of a placeholder for a grocery store on one of the blocks, along with a more permanent street space for the Farmers Market as shown at #3. There seem to be elements of the town of Ashland being shown here, which I appreciate. I am against the bicycle overpass option, given the expense of such an addition to any plan, and how unnecessary it would be. There are so many other features that would benefit all of our citizens (public art, interactive art, street furniture, landscaping, and higher end road finishes) that would be cut from the budget if a pedestrian/bicycle overpass was part of the package.

Sarah almost 2 years ago

Additional pedestrian and bicycle overpass connect to the waterfront is essential to quality of life. Retain a nature-art based feel with the vacated of Vacate Phil Arnold Way and installing a fully-accessible bicycle and pedestrian street. Add the Plaza to accommodate more visitors. Become a unique destination with the gateway into an arts and makerspace development on the corner of Esther Street and Phil Arnold Way. Add the retail anchor at the southwest corner of 6th and Esther streets with an emphasis of restaurants and boutiques. Add a Visitor Information Center and Historic arm of the museum to share Vancouver's unique history. That may include the adaptive reuse of the existing Webber Building on Columbia Street

SusanLTripp almost 2 years ago

I like option three best. I like the bike and pedestrian street.

FortRunner almost 2 years ago

Webber Machine building on Columbia should be saved. It is a wonderful example of our city's history and should be repurposed if at all possible!

Adam almost 2 years ago

Most of this property is now parking and it’s heavily used. Yet #1 shows no parking, #2 is pretty vague with parking areas sketched in the middle of other uses, and only #3 shows clearly parking in the SE corner. Adequate parking need to be incorporated into any design. None of these concepts seem to address the Farmers Market or Esther Short Park. This project could greatly enhance those areas (and vice versa) or detract from them. I am especially concerned about the traffic flow, and parking (again). An indoor full time Farmers Market would be great, although that was tried before and failed. (I’m not sure all the issues with that. ) Plus, the Port was talking about that for Terminal 1. I support keeping the Webber. Building; Vancouver has lost too many old buildings. I like the idea of creating nice space along Phil Arnold Way, But have any of these designers ever spent any time there? The railway is very noisy sometimes and that might make this space unpleasant. What exactly do you mean by “maker space?” Is that just a fancy name for an artists studio? Or are we talking about places with tools and machines the public can use. Can you define that and not assume everybody knows what you mean? A pedestrian bridge over the railroad sound silly. The tracks are already on an elevated berm so the walkway will be 35 to 40 feet up. Not many people will want to climb up there when they can just go through the Esther St. portal.

Rudy P almost 2 years ago

Love the idea of making phil arnold way a fully-accessible bicycle and pedestrian street, and adding pedestrian overpasses.

HATE THE IDEA OF A BREWERY. A lot of full grown adults don't drink!! We have an overabundance of wineries, bars, breweries, etc. in the area. Let's add something NEW like a VEGAN restaurant!! We don't have a single VEGAN restaurant downtown. Let's not keep adding multiples of things we already have.

The art/makers space seems cool too.

TNJ almost 2 years ago

Idea 2 is worthless, as it added a reckless and unnecessary amount of parking downtown.
Idea 3 should help reduce traffic downtown by flushing it through the Waterfront. The full bike/ped path on Philip Arnold Way is a preferable solution.

xasam24 almost 2 years ago

The Webber Machine building near the Hilton should be preserved in part of this project. Historical buildings provide irreplaceable character and add to the economic viability of our downtown.

G Hoyt almost 2 years ago

I disagree that Esther Street should be the primary connection to the Waterfront. The city is currently looking at creating a north-south bike route on the west side of town. NONE of the proposed routes include Esther Street because it doesn't connect all the way through the neighborhoods to the north. A funnel with out a clearly defined hose leading to it is just a mess. Please consider connectivity with other major travel routes. Columbia Street makes more sense. Esther Street is too small to serve this purpose and it's also home to the Farmers Market on weekends (which I DON'T want to see moved anywhere else!). Or perhaps you can make Esther Street a pedestrian-only route and provide a separate, protected bikeway on Columbia Street instead.

Vision 1 & 2 don't appear to have any significant parking included. A parking structure, either under or above ground, with plenty of public-access metered spaces (not permit only spaces for workers) MUST be included.

I like the idea of adaptive reuse of the Webber Building. It's a nifty older building and I'm sick and tired of cities tearing down all their history. Let's keep it!

GalaxyGirl almost 2 years ago