Thursday morning October 11, Vancouver’s Downtown Association held their third quarter meeting for 2012. The format – A public communication forum on the CRC project, with the two project Leads from each side of the River, and Matt Ransom, the primary point of contact for the City of Vancouver. I’ve provided this link to an article that appeared in the Columbian the following day if you want their additional perspective. Here are my take aways from the 50 minute session:
- VDA says they are going to take the lead on ensuring regular public input forums happen so the Downtown and surrounding community feel fully informed.
- All three participants expressed a strong commitment to transparency, regular communication, and a willingness to listen to and mitigate local concerns
- Construction can’t begin much before the end of 2014 because funding is not secured.. Efforts with both States, and the Feds are ongoing.
- Many of the details of a construction timeline can’t be finalized until a contractor is selected, which should happen this next year
- We may see some preparation of equipment and supply staging areas around both sides of the river as we move forward.
- Construction of just the Bridge project is a 5 to 6 year time line.
- Light rail won’t be built until after the Bridge portion is complete – so the major disruptive work on Downtown streets is a good six years off.
- When the Light rail portion does begin, the plan will be to break construction into smaller sections say a 2 to 3 block areas and complete sections in an 8 week window. Minimize the impact.
- Plans are being formulated by the City as to how they can help Business owners mitigate the impacts. More will come, and input will be welcomed.
VDA recognizes how vital it is to stay in front of this issue, and how critical it will be to have a cohesive, active Association both to get response from the Agency’s, but also to maximize the ability for Downtown bossiness to develop their customer bases during this time, so they stay loyal during each phase of the Project.
If you lay out the time lines, we have two years before construction begins, and then the majority of the construction work is in the river and along the freeways for five years.
You hear rumors that the CRC project is going to kill Downtown Vancouver during the construction phase. If you go to the Columbian’s link to the article referenced above you will see many concerns expressed. Rightly so as this will change the face of Vancouver. However being active on the front lines of the Commercial Real Estate market everyday I can tell you I hear more scuttlebut, about and from investors and companies wanting to locate in Downtown to be on the leading edge of this transformation. These are savvy, long term, experienced folks who are usually right. I think Downtown’s future is brighter today than at any time since I moved here in 1979.