VANCOUVER, WA-Elie Kassab and the Vancouver Housing Authority are partnering on a $6 million mixed-use project on the southeast corner of East Seventh Street and Broadway along the transit mall. Kassab, a downtown developer, plans to break ground in the spring on a five-story, 52-unit apartment building with 9,000-sf of commercial space on the ground floor. The building itself will hang over sidewalks on Broadway and Seventh Street, offering rain protection for pedestrians. Parking for the project will be located in the parking garage beneath Kassab’s M.J. Murdock Executive Plaza, across the street from the proposed development site.

When complete at the end of 2001, the housing authority will purchase the studio and one-bedroom units and make them available to people earn 60% of the area’s median income. Kassab will retain and lease the ground floor commercial space. Jim Heitert, project manager for Kassab’s Prestige Development, tells GlobeSt that specifics of the ultimate transaction have not yet been hammered out with the housing authority. “It’s far enough along that everybody is comfortable talking about it, but there’s still a lot of work to do on the (post-construction financial) details,” says Heitert.

The only potential deal killer is if the City of Vancouver for some reason chooses not to give one of more of its typical kickbacks for downtown revitalization, which isn’t likely. In the past, those incentives have included a 10-year break from property taxes, a waiving of development fees and free roadway and sidewalk improvements.

Assuming the city capitulates, the project will have a Lewis and Clark theme, inside and out. Inside, there will be life-size statues of the famed explorers, as well as replicas of Sacajawea and her husband Charbonneau. In addition, Eight brick columns on Broadway and Seventh would each have a bronze medallion detailing a portion of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and bronze footsteps embedded in the sidewalks would be engraved with the names of historical figures. The statues will be designed and built by Jim Demetro, whose previous work includes the Capt. George Vancouver monument outside city hall.

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