Preliminary plans are being made for a new commercial and high density residential development on Northwest 38th Avenue in Camas.
Developer David Lugliani of Vancouver-based Lugliani Investment recently spoke to the City Council about his vision for 18.2 acres, located on the north side of 38th Avenue, off of 192nd Avenue.
The site development plan for the project, called “Kate’s Crossing,” includes a gated apartment complex with nine buildings and 240 units as well as a clubhouse, pool and park. It would be similar, Lugliani said, to those that exist in the Columbia Tech Center development in Vancouver.
The commercial aspect of the Kate’s Crossing project would be located in front of the apartment complex along Northwest 38th, with spaces for a boutique hotel and a restaurant, as well as five two-story buildings with approximately 42,000 feet of retail space.
According to Lugliani, the mixed use proposal is being presented because it has been determined that the site is not ideal for commercial uses alone, since it’s not located right on the 192nd Avenue corridor.
“We have been unable to attract an anchor,” he said. “Input we get from everyone is that the property is very suburban. It doesn’t feel commercial. It doesn’t feel very urban.
“What everyone would like to see out there is high density rooftops to drive the commercial,” he continued. “This site is in essence trying to put enough rooftops out there to support the commercial in front of it.”
The property currently has a regional commercial designation, which doesn’t allow for residential housing. Lugliani plans to request establishing a mixed-use overlay zone, a tool used to provide more flexibility in developing certain areas.
According to Community Development Director Phil Bourquin, establishing an overlay on this area will likely be considered by the Planning Commission in January, and then the City Council in February.
Lugliani would then submit an application to apply the overlay zone to his property, as well as a development agreement which would need to be approved by the City Council. A site plan and design review, completed by city staff, would also be part of the process.
Lugliani said the design he has in mind would fit the character of Camas, and provide a “sense of arrival.”
“You’re not seeing the typical strip type development,” he said. “Hopefully, this project will anchor the entire area, and the 30 acres across the street will have a better chance at development. That’s been available for quite some time.”
Councilman Greg Anderson said he’d prefer not to see a fast food restaurant included in the development plans.
“I’m just kind of helping with the vision,” he explained.
Lugliani said the design includes two possible spots for a drive-thru businesses, these could include fast food restaurants, banks or coffee shops. However, he added that design guidance and restrictions could be part of the development agreement.
Councilman Don Chaney commented that the Kate’s Crossing proposal has features that would make it a visually appealing entrance into Camas, and has the potential to serve as a catalyst for more development in the area.
“I see the benefit of this particular development,” he said. “I love the view — if we can capture that when it is completed. It’s sort of replicating what we have downtown in the entrance to our community from 38th. I commend you for looking at that. I know that’s something you tried to achieve.”
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins said he believes Camas residents will be enthusiastic about patronizing businesses located inside their own city.
“I really hope we get some good anchor restaurants,” he said. “I also do believe Camas will buck the trend. I think Camas people support Camas businesses. I think they are very hyper-aware of what’s in their community and what’s out of their community. Camas holds a special attachment to self-identity, vs. Vancouver.”
Lugliani said he first started assembling the 13 parcels that make up the 18.2 acres 10 years ago. Initially, he had hoped to entice Costco to the site.
“This obviously failed,” he said. “It went up the road a bit (to Southeast 192nd Avenue and First Street) because it didn’t have the ability to get The Crossing in on time for them. That was their prime reason for not coming.”
According to Lugliani, the type of planned multi-use development that he has presented to the City Council is generally preferred over smaller parcels being developed individually.
“Generally, people like to see a master plan put together with the properties all being part of one vision,” he said. “That’s what we’ve done here, over a long period.”