This acreage is of particular interest to city officials due to its close proximity to two proposed transit hubs: C-TRAN’s Bus Rapid Transit Mill Plain Blvd line and a light rail stop connected to the Interstate Bridge replacement project
For Clark County Today
Several high-priced agenda items were approved at Tuesday’s Vancouver City Council meeting, including a $12-million acquisition of 3.18 acres of property in downtown. The lot, dubbed Library Square, is located at Evergreen Boulevard and C Street and consists of five vacant parcels. This acreage is of particular interest to city officials due to its close proximity to two proposed transit hubs: C-TRAN’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line for Mill Plain Blvd and a light rail stop connected to the Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) project.
Monies for the acquisition were borrowed from other city budget items, including $4 million from the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) fund and $8 million from the General Fund. However, the Parking and Water Funds will each send $4 million to the General Fund in order to cover the costs as part of Interfund Loans. A sixth parcel will be donated to the Fort Vancouver Regional Library by the current owners, Evergreen Investors, LLC as a part of the deal.
The staff report for the interfund loan and acquisition reads that the “purchase price for the parcels is less than the appraised value,” but doesn’t list what the actual appraisal price was. Searching each parcel on the County Assessor’s GIS website shows that the total of all five parcels is listed most recently (January 1, 2022) at $6,268,060, which included increases for each parcel from the 2021 assessment.
“When the City considers a property for acquisition, we don’t rely on the County’s assessed value and instead order an appraisal by a certified appraiser, who performs an independent market analysis to determine the value of the property,” explained Patrick Quinton, economic development director for the city of Vancouver, in an email to Clark County Today. “In this case, our appraiser determined the value of the Library Square properties to be $18 million due to the properties’ development potential and the price of similar property sales downtown. While we believed the property to be of strategic importance to the City, we initially decided to hold off on purchasing the property. However, after the seller indicated their willingness to include part of the value of the property as a donation, we decided that the acquisition was a prudent investment for the City.”
While the staff report, written by City Manager Eric Holmes, says that the city can expect to earn money at some point from the purchase, the city “will not pursue immediate redevelopment of the property and will therefore be unable to recoup any investment in the property in the near term.” It’s unclear what the definition of “near term” is here, nor how long it will be until either project (BRT and IBR), which are both not finalized, is underway and able to earn some money back for the city.
“Because of its location,” Holmes said in the staff report, “the property is an ideal location for future redevelopment and, by owning the parcels, the City will be in a position to ensure that any redevelopment of the property maximizes public benefits to the city as well as incorporates the interests of local partners, including FVRL.”
Despite public comment at the meeting against the matter, council members unanimously passed the resolution to agenda items 12 and 13, which were, respectively, Purchase and Sale Agreement and Donation Acceptance for Real Estate Acquisition and Library Square Property Acquisition and Associated Interfund Loan without discussion. Item 12 is listed as having no prior Council review.
According to the aforementioned staff report, the land acquisition will accomplish several strategic plan alignment goals, such as to “Strengthen commercial, retail and community districts throughout the city; Make downtown Vancouver a vibrant destination for the community and the region.”
According to the Washington Secretary of State Website, the property owner company, Evergreen Investors, LLC, is Killian Pacific out of Portland, Oregon. The company has not responded to requests for comment from Clark County Today.
- Expect daytime delays on northbound I-5 in Vancouver for drainage work, June 5-8Possible delays expected on northbound Interstate 5 in Vancouver next week as Washington State Department of Transportation installs catch basins to prevent pooling and improve safety during heavy rainstorms.
- Clark County residents get first look at IBR detailsThe Interstate Bridge Replacement Program (IBR) held its first community forum, allowing citizens to view engineering plans for the I-5 corridor, including options for bridge designs, interchanges, light rail extensions, and tolls, while seeking community feedback and engaging the public for the ongoing environmental impact review process.
- Night time delays for guardrail installation on southbound I-5 in Woodland, May 31Travelers returning home from the extended weekend should expect nightly lane closures on southbound Interstate 5 in Woodland as a new guardrail is installed for improved safety.
- Daytime delays on southbound I-5 continue in Vancouver, May 31-June 1Paving work on southbound Interstate 5 in Vancouver aims to improve safety by installing catch basins to prevent pooling during heavy rainstorms, potentially causing delays for travelers.
- Washington fuel prices spike over holiday weekendThis holiday weekend price hike marks the 17th week this year of rising fuel prices for Washingtonians, following the implementation of the new carbon tax earlier this year.
“Despite public comment at the meeting against the matter, council members unanimously passed the resolution”… yet another example of how City leaders are simply not interested in the opinions of “common folk.” They consistently defer to big-developers, including giving them tax breaks. If it isn’t new & shiny, and located at or near the waterfront, then it doesn’t get anything more than lip-service from the Council.
I for one am sick and tired of the Council (and Mayor’s) shenanigans. They can’t fix the streets, they can’t clean up the litter, they can’t adequately address the homeless… but, by golly, they can sure spend my tax dollars for a transit center. A center that is to serve loot-rail…. even though loot-rail is an unsure thing. Who’s gonna pay for loot-rail? C-tran says ‘not me’ as well as other gov’t. bodies. But Vancouver City is spending my money on it, nevertheless.
Remember, “you get what you vote for” and “elections have consequences.” Tired of the baloney coming out of the current Council? THEN DON’T VOTE FOR THEM AGAIN!!!!
The FVRL main library used to be conveniently located on E Mill Plain and Ft. Vancouver way, near Hudson’s Bay High School with lots of convenient parking, and parks next door and across the street. Then it was moved to the location on the map, and similar ample parking was promised, but never delivered. Instead of a park next door, there is an empty lot, soon to be MAX light rail station. When a public vote was held about extending TriMet Max light rail across the Columbia River into Clark County in 2012, every city in Clark County including Vancouver rejected the CTRAN ballot proposition. Again in 2013, voters supported a vote on light rail prior to any funds being spent on it. Nevertheless, a county-wide vote was never held, and the Vancouver Mayor and City Council continue to push for Max light rail in Vancouver.
There seem to be an increasing number of attacks on riders at MAX stations and on trains.