New Life for a Historic Port

With the waterfront development master plan for Vancouver, Washington, NBBJ is helping to restore public access to the Columbia River and reconnect a city to its heritage.

To guide their first-ever mixed-use development, The Port of Vancouver USA turned to NBBJ to envision a new future for a 14-acre waterfront that would encourage innovation, create a healthy environment and build a vibrant urban community. The master plan is designed to connect downtown and support its economic growth, while enlisting historic assets to create meaningful and engaging public spaces.

The plan centers on renovating and repurposing the historic Terminal 1 building — the birthplace of the city’s industrial waterfront — for a marketplace or other light industrial use that will complement, not replace, commercial activity in the already-thriving downtown. In addition, five adjacent blocks were studied for future apartments, offices, retail, a hotel and multipurpose space.

Community engagement, including online surveys and an open house to solicit public feedback, was essential to the process. The master plan is also designed to connect to an adjacent private development to the west and extends a regional trail through the site. A Phase II concept development plan will refine the details, taking a more in-depth look at the cultural, infrastructural and environmental implications of the plan, and laying the groundwork for permitting and entitlements.