Waterfront Gateway Project

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The 6.4-acre Waterfront Gateway area encompasses the largely undeveloped properties to the south and west of Vancouver City Hall (415 W. Sixth St.) and the Convention Center/Hilton Hotel in downtown Vancouver (see map below). Also included is the Webber office building and parking lot (400 Columbia St.).

The properties involved are all owned or indirectly controlled by the City of Vancouver.

Three underpasses physically connect the site area to the waterfront, while strong view corridors reinforce visual connections from the City Hall Plaza and southwest corner of the Convention Center to the waterfront. Esther Short Park, 6th Street, and Columbia Street connect the site area to parts of downtown to the north and east.


The City has begun preliminary planning for the Waterfront Gateway area in partnership with the City Center Redevelopment Authority (CCRA). CCRA, in its role of providing oversight and guidance to the City regarding downtown redevelopment efforts, will take a leading role in the project's planning and development. The City and CCRA have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for this purpose.

The CCRA plans to select a master developer for the properties beginning with a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process in 2020.

Visioning Workshops

To provide prospective developers with a community vision for the site, the CCRA Board of Directors and several members of the public participated in a visioning workshop at a CCRA Board meeting in July 2019. High level concepts for the Waterfront Gateway area were developed at this workshop.

These concepts considered activities, destinations and places that would make Waterfront Gateway an inviting and active district in the future, including what types of public amenities might be included.

The community was invited to weigh in on the future of the Waterfront Gateway properties at a second visioning workshop on Sept. 19, 2019, at Vancouver City Hall.

Those who weren't able to attend the Sept. 19 community workshop were able to provide feedback on this website through Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

The input received from the July and September visioning workshops and the website have been gathered into a draft Summary Memorandum prepared by the project consultant SERA Architects.

On November 21, 2019, the community visioning phase wrapped up at the CCRA’s monthly board meeting where a draft “Community Vision” excerpt from the upcoming master developer RFQ was presented. Board members and the public provided input on the draft excerpt, which will be revised based upon board direction.

If you would still like to submit comments about this project, you can contact John Collum at the City of Vancouver (see contact information in right sidebar).

Waterfront Gateway Updates

Since completion of the draft RFQ Community Vision last November, the CCRA Board has received several Waterfront Gateway updates from City staff and consultants.

The February 2020 update featured parking garage modeling/site capacity analysis and photos from the board’s tour of the Webber Building in December 2019.

The June 2020 update featured an update on the pandemic’s impact on the real estate market and the Waterfront Gateway project schedule and tasks, including a discussion on moving the RFQ release to Fall 2020.

During a City Council Workshop on August 17, 2020, the Mayor and Councilmembers received a project update featuring an overview of the CCRA’s project leadership, the Community Vision developed for the RFQ, tasks related to public facilities to be accommodated on the site (parking garage and potential Convention Center expansion), and project schedule that moves issuing the master developer RFQ to Fall 2020.

On September 17, 2020, the CCRA Board received a presentation on how the Community Vision for the site is being integrated into the RFQ through precedent imagery of analogous placemaking developments and urban spaces for comparison and conceptual sketches and plans for the special district envisioned for the site. The Board provided comments on the imagery and sketches, along with direction on the inclusion or handling of specific items within the RFQ.

Upcoming meetings featuring Waterfront Gateway:

Presentations and related materials can be found in the Document Library to the right. Audio/video of the meetings can be found by clicking on the meeting dates above.



The 6.4-acre Waterfront Gateway area encompasses the largely undeveloped properties to the south and west of Vancouver City Hall (415 W. Sixth St.) and the Convention Center/Hilton Hotel in downtown Vancouver (see map below). Also included is the Webber office building and parking lot (400 Columbia St.).

The properties involved are all owned or indirectly controlled by the City of Vancouver.

Three underpasses physically connect the site area to the waterfront, while strong view corridors reinforce visual connections from the City Hall Plaza and southwest corner of the Convention Center to the waterfront. Esther Short Park, 6th Street, and Columbia Street connect the site area to parts of downtown to the north and east.


The City has begun preliminary planning for the Waterfront Gateway area in partnership with the City Center Redevelopment Authority (CCRA). CCRA, in its role of providing oversight and guidance to the City regarding downtown redevelopment efforts, will take a leading role in the project's planning and development. The City and CCRA have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for this purpose.

The CCRA plans to select a master developer for the properties beginning with a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process in 2020.

Visioning Workshops

To provide prospective developers with a community vision for the site, the CCRA Board of Directors and several members of the public participated in a visioning workshop at a CCRA Board meeting in July 2019. High level concepts for the Waterfront Gateway area were developed at this workshop.

These concepts considered activities, destinations and places that would make Waterfront Gateway an inviting and active district in the future, including what types of public amenities might be included.

The community was invited to weigh in on the future of the Waterfront Gateway properties at a second visioning workshop on Sept. 19, 2019, at Vancouver City Hall.

Those who weren't able to attend the Sept. 19 community workshop were able to provide feedback on this website through Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

The input received from the July and September visioning workshops and the website have been gathered into a draft Summary Memorandum prepared by the project consultant SERA Architects.

On November 21, 2019, the community visioning phase wrapped up at the CCRA’s monthly board meeting where a draft “Community Vision” excerpt from the upcoming master developer RFQ was presented. Board members and the public provided input on the draft excerpt, which will be revised based upon board direction.

If you would still like to submit comments about this project, you can contact John Collum at the City of Vancouver (see contact information in right sidebar).

Waterfront Gateway Updates

Since completion of the draft RFQ Community Vision last November, the CCRA Board has received several Waterfront Gateway updates from City staff and consultants.

The February 2020 update featured parking garage modeling/site capacity analysis and photos from the board’s tour of the Webber Building in December 2019.

The June 2020 update featured an update on the pandemic’s impact on the real estate market and the Waterfront Gateway project schedule and tasks, including a discussion on moving the RFQ release to Fall 2020.

During a City Council Workshop on August 17, 2020, the Mayor and Councilmembers received a project update featuring an overview of the CCRA’s project leadership, the Community Vision developed for the RFQ, tasks related to public facilities to be accommodated on the site (parking garage and potential Convention Center expansion), and project schedule that moves issuing the master developer RFQ to Fall 2020.

On September 17, 2020, the CCRA Board received a presentation on how the Community Vision for the site is being integrated into the RFQ through precedent imagery of analogous placemaking developments and urban spaces for comparison and conceptual sketches and plans for the special district envisioned for the site. The Board provided comments on the imagery and sketches, along with direction on the inclusion or handling of specific items within the RFQ.

Upcoming meetings featuring Waterfront Gateway:

Presentations and related materials can be found in the Document Library to the right. Audio/video of the meetings can be found by clicking on the meeting dates above.


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 about 1 year 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 about 1 year 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 about 1 year 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 about 1 year ago

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

FortRunner about 1 year 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 about 1 year 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 about 1 year 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 about 1 year 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 about 1 year 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 about 1 year 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 about 1 year ago