Media given sneak peek of waterfront park and restaurants on former paper plant brownfield.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - The new Twigs restaurant at the Vancouver USA Waterfront.

Barry Cain, the president of Gramor Development, toured Waterfront-Vancouver USA with media on Thursday, Sept. 20. He showed off the Grant Street Pier, a new park and two nearby buildings which will house restaurants.

For the first time, people were allowed out on the Grant Street Pier, which hangs out over the Columbia River suspended by cables.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - The new pier seen from the north.

The park will be officially opened on Saturday Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. The City of Vancouver built Waterfront Park, but Gramor Development hired the architect, PWL Partnership from Vancouver, B.C., for the conceptual plan. The designer Larry Kirkland moved from Washington D.C. to Sauvie Island while he oversaw the final stages.

The park's Headwaters Wall water feature will resemble the Columbia River and its main tributaries, which are represented by five stone blocks.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - Workers put the finishing touches to the waterfront park and water feature.


The first two restaurants will be open on Saturday. One is the brainchild of the president and operating partner of seafood restaurant WildFin American Grill, Attila Szabo, who toured the site with Gramor. The other, Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar is part of a Spokane-based chain. Maryhill Winery is set to open a tasting room adjacent to Twigs. Four more restaurants are expected in the cluster, including the Barlow Public House.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - Cable stays at the new pier.

The development of 20 blocks will include a mix of offices, apartments, condominiums, retail and public space.

Cain's company is developing some buildings itself. One of the first to open, in November, is the small Rediviva apartments (60 units) named after the Columbia Rediviva, a ship out of Boston which made two voyages to the Northwest Coast and went 13 miles up the Columbia River.

Just north of the pier is a tower called the Murdock Building, sitting in a row of partially completed buildings. It is slated to open this fall and will the headquarters of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - Barry Cain outside Twigs Bistro.

The westernmost building is called RiverWest, a 207-unit apartment block. Next to it is Block 6 or the Rediviva. Then the Murdock Building, then, on Block 4, a combination of condominiums and what will be the Intercontinental's Hotel Indigo. Block 3 will have a 250-unit cross-laminated timber building developed by Summit Development.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - The new pier viewed from the west.

Will they come?

Cain has been planning the development for the last 20 years, buying up 32 acres of land with his investors and persuading the Vancouver City Council of his vision. He said that once the Boise Cascade paper mill moved out and the brownfield was cleaned up, investors started to get interested. He hopes to attract overseas investors looking to park their money in condos, as well as Portlanders and Vancouverites who want waterfront lifestyle without traffic congestion.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - Barry Cain shows off an image of the industrial site before his company bought and started developing it.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - Barry Cain and Attila Szabo.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - Attila Szabo, President and Operating Partner WoldFin America, in orange.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ADAM WICKHAM  - A view from the pier northeast to the I-5 bridge.

Joseph Gallivan
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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