Developer hopes Washougal waterfront becomes community hub

First phase to include 'Main Street,' apartments, restaurants, retail; construction set to begin in fall 2022

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The first phase of the Waterfront at Parker's Landing development will include the construction of several streets and four buildings that will house apartments, retail businesses and restaurants. (Contributed graphic courtesy of Port of Camas-Washougal)

Roy Kim wants the Waterfront at Parker’s Landing mixed-use urban center to provide visitors with “a sense of place” when it opens in 2024, and believes that the first phase of construction will allow the development to deliver on that promise.

During the Port of Camas-Washougal’s Feb. 3 commission meeting, Kim, the owner of Portland-based RKm Development, presented his latest vision for the general layout of the first phase of construction, scheduled to begin in fall 2022.

The plan features several streets, including a main thoroughfare that will stretch east and west along the Columbia River, and four buildings that will contain 260 apartment units and 56,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

“That’s actually a lot of buildings for the first phase, but we did that purposely because we want to create as much of a ‘sense of place’ in the first phase as possible,” Kim said. “Along with (the Ninebark (apartments), hopefully there will be activity right off the bat. In general, we wanted one area to be the core. It’s like a town that has its ‘Main Street.’ This (development) should have a core that is a focus of activity.”

The main street — tentatively named “Waterfront Way” — will be designed to hold events and other activities, according to Kim.

“I think the idea is for the active street to be social, a place where you run into your neighbors,” he said. “(We want this to be) a place to hang out. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have things like street fairs or small concerts pretty regularly and have booths set up to be able to sell things. I know there are street fairs and farmer’s market types of things in downtown Camas, so (our events) will have a different feel to them.”

Kim said the hope is that future waterfront restaurants will “automatically become a destination.”

“Obviously, they’re an important part of creating a sense of ‘place’ here — nice restaurants that look out over the river, front onto a street and are designed to be vibrant and active,” he said. “The designs will probably be more customized to the specific restaurants. Single-story, a lot of glass, big overhang — these are the things that we’re thinking about. (The buildings are) designed to have smaller restaurants. A lot of these (spaces) are designed to be somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 square feet. Hopefully we’ll have smaller restaurants, but not too small, with variety — some will be larger, some will be smaller.”

Kim said the development will include local artwork, educational opportunities highlighting local history, visual and physical access to the waterfront and surrounding natural elements, and will be “pretty easy to walk across.”

“The right-of-way width, wide sidewalks, street trees, light poles … canopies so that it’s reasonable to walk if there’s a drizzle — we’re really thinking about the pedestrian experience,” Kim said. “There are also three areas where ‘Waterfront Way’ connects to the existing waterfront trail. We want direct and pleasant access to the trail.”

Commissioner Cassi Marshall praised Kim’s plan and thanked him for incorporating public spaces “closer to the waterfront and waterfront trail.”

“The waterfront trail has been such a popular amenity for us, and I think the way you’ve created public access to it from the development and created more space for people to spill out from the waterfront trail with more public areas, I really appreciate that,” Marshall said to Kim. “(I hope you) hang on to those strong concepts as you move forward with more design specifics because I think those are really strong.”

Kim projects the first phase of the waterfront development’s construction will cost about $90 million.

“These are rough numbers because things are changing dramatically, especially with the pandemic,” Kim said. “Infrastructure will be the streets as well as utilities under the streets and the design costs and soft costs and city fees. We’ll fund that using a construction loan and equity.”