Building into the second decade of Top Projects

Kim Smith

Since that time, it has been our practice to host the Top Projects event at an active construction site to remind us all of the many components (designing, planning, construction, finishing, etc.) that go into every one of the projects recognized.

For the historians out there, here’s a brief review of the projects that were either just completed or still under construction in August of 2004: Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital was the number one project that year with a cost of construction in excess of $50 million dollars. Not far behind was the Hilton Vancouver at nearly $48 million. Pacific Lifestyle Home’s Fairfield Park subdivision was the third largest project that year. The Gardner Center in Battle Ground (now home to Mill Creek Pub and the Battle Ground Cinemas) and Esther Short Commons in Vancouver were both built that year, as was the Southeast Mill Plain Extension through what we now refer to as Columbia Tech Center. Five Schools were a part of the top 25 projects featured that year. An additional 32 projects ranging in size from $200,000 to $5.5 million were also completed.

The following four years were similar years in terms of total projects, with 2008 coming in with 47 projects submitted. Then, with the exception of 2010 when 20 public works projects broke ground (many with the assistance of federal stimulus money), the “Great Recession” kept the number of projects just below 20 projects of note each year.

Last year, the number of projects recognized grew to 26 and we were ecstatic to have 28 projects recognized this year.

The Top Projects event has moved around the region in ten years with events held at Big Al’s in east Vancouver in 2006, Washougal Town Square in 2007 and Battle Ground Village in 2008.

Given the jobs they create and the investment dollars they represent, we believe it is imperative to recognize these projects and the role they play in our economy, whether there are 17 total projects like in 2011 or 57 projects like in 2004.

In 2010, this recognition changed a bit when we decided to honor the largest projects in three categories: commercial, residential and public works. At that time we also decided to determine which project was the “Top Project” of the year – a recognition designated not simply by the amount of dollars invested, but judged against a matrix of criteria and evaluated by professionals from the industry.

Projects that have been recognized as a Top Project include: the Applied Science and Engineering Building at WSU Vancouver (2010); Fisher Investments’ first building (2011); Henrietta Lacks Health & Bio-Science High School (2012); and the Port of Vancouver’s Centennial Industrial Park Infrastructure Project (2013).

The Top Project for 2014, as determined by the panel of professionals in the industry, is Block 56, the repurposed ‘old Vancouver city hall’ building.

As the second decade dawns on this annual event, we, along with the support of our sponsors, are proud to be able to bring this important recognition to the construction/development community. Congratulations to all of the project owners and builders. We hope to see all of you and more represented on next year’s list of projects.

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