Major Office Park to Be Built in Vancouver, Wa.

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Ron Greenen decided more than a year ago he wanted an office building on a prime piece of downtown property. But Steve Burdick had other ideas.

When Burdick, the city's director of economic development, learned of Greenen's plans, he contacted the Vancouver attorney. He also contacted three other people who own property on a city block across Ninth Street from the Heritage Place Condominiums.

Wouldn't it be great, Burdick suggested, if the property owners joined forces and built a mixed-used building, on an entire city block, for offices and stores?

It would, they agreed. Money was discussed, meetings were held, an architect even drew a picture.

But the idea languished, in part because of a Class A office vacancy rate downtown that might have dissuaded a bank from lending the group development money, Burdick said Monday. Case in point: The 11-story Vancouvercenter mixed-used building, on the east side of Esther Short Park, has snagged only a few office tenants. Just more than 10 percent of its 93,000 square feet has been leased, said Tamara Fuller, leasing agent for Norris, Beggs and Simpson.

Greenen has decided he can wait no longer for a grand development plan.

A limited liability corporation he created has submitted papers to the city calling for a five-story office structure at the northeast corner of Ninth and Daniels streets. The first two stories would have 38 parking spaces, and the three other levels would have 25,000 square feet of office space, said architect Larry Wilson.

Greenen & Greenen law offices, now located at 1104 Main St., would occupy 5,000 square feet on one of the floors of the Sedona Office Building, as it is now named.

Construction would begin in May and be completed by October, according to papers submitted to the city.

Burdick said he still hopes something big can be accomplished with the remaining three quarters of a city block, bounded by Columbia Street on the east, Ninth to the south, Daniels on the west and Evergreen to the north.

"We've been trying, but at this point we don't have a deal," Burdick said. "Certainly, we're not going to give up on having denser development."

Chuck Mulligan owns a vacant building at the block's northwest quarter. He is trying to lease the building.

He said he discussed selling the property to the city.

The city would have sold the property to a development group, Burdick said.