By Megan Patrick
VBJ Staff Reporter
Pending approval by the Vancouver City Council, Vancouver-based iQ Credit Union has announced plans to purchase the former Citizens Service Center, 1313 Main Street, and the Eberle Building, 110 E. 13th St., in downtown Vancouver for $3.2 million.
The buildings were put on the open market for $2.6 million.
“We have been looking for a presence that meets more of the needs of our business members and is more convenient for some time,” said iQ President and CEO Roger Michaelis.
The city vacated the space because it needed structural repairs, but renovation didn’t make sense because the buildings no longer met the city’s needs for space.
“We were busting at the seams” with no room for new employees, said Matt Newstrom, real property specialist for the city.
The City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed sale May 21 at its regular meeting.
If approved, iQ will relocate its corporate headquarters, business lending and business services departments and the City Branch to the downtown site. iQ’s administrative center is currently located in Hazel Dell, with the City Branch located at the corner of “F” and 16th streets.
The credit union will conduct structural updates and upgrade the buildings, incorporating the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines into their design.
The buildings meet the credit union’s desire for visibility, accessibility and uniqueness, but need seismic upgrades and a “good facelift” to meet iQ branding standards.
“We’re excited to finally be able to make it downtown,” Michaelis said. “We’ve only been here for 67 years.”
It will likely be a year before the credit union is able to inhabit the space, due to permitting and renovation delays, he added.
The city plans on using the proceeds from the sale on a replacement citizen service center downtown.
Multiple offers were received on both buildings, but city staff will recommend iQ to the City Council because of its proposed purchase price and outline of the intended use.
The city has leased its current space near the Westfield Vancouver Mall for five years and intends to have employees working back downtown by the end of that time, Newstrom said.
Whether the city will construct new buildings downtown or occupy existing space is yet unknown.