Downtown Vancouver’s newest mixed-use building, the Angelo Tower, opened on Aug. 13 in a spot the Al Angelo Co. hails as the “Gateway to Vancouver.”
It opens at a time that’s undoubtedly a boom in the downtown area’s property development, which includes the Waterfront Vancouver project and many more apartments, condos, and workplace buildings at least six stories tall on the way.
“We’re investing in downtown Vancouver because we believe in it,” said President Al Angelo III as he stood in one of the last two apartment units available in the building.
Angelo looked out the corner windows of the Angelo Tower, 330 E. Mill Plain Blvd ., and across the parking lot and street to other properties owned by his family business, the Al Angelo Co.
The Al Angelo Co., Vancouver’s largest privately held real estate company, has for four generations shaped much of the city’s skyline. Its newest building, the Angelo Tower, developed during the pandemic, was able to outmaneuver much of COVID-19’s harm to the industry, including price increases and work delays.
There were only four days that construction workers were unable to work during the pandemic, said Angelo, and part of the reason was the company’s clout allowed some employees to get a direct line of communication with Gov. Jay Inslee to express the importance of development as an essential service.
The Angelo Tower was already 80 percent pre-leased before it opened, partly fueled by out-of-state workers seeking Vancouver’s amenities and tax breaks, and by the end of the year, all four commercial spaces and 44 residential units should be rented out.
The apartments and offices are likely some of the most luxurious in the city. The common hallways on the apartment floors have live moss walls, which give off a forest scent in the hallways. The units offer polished concrete floors, gas-burner stovetops and electronic-display mirrors. The rooftop has an outdoor patio area with undercover grills and a “dog run” where tenants can bring their dogs to go potty.
Apartment rental rates range from $1,250 to $2,980 a month, according to the building’s website.
The building also has a surplus of parking, with more than 180 spots that serve both the company’s buildings between East 15th Street and East Mill Plain Boulevard.
Nicole Kreig, director of property management and an employee of the Angelo family for 19 years, said that the last three tenants to sign an apartment lease came from California, and Portland is also a place from where people are moving.
“Vancouver is under the spotlight right now,” said Craig Angelo, managing partner, nothing that BNSF Railway is moving its Northwest headquarters from Seattle to Angelo Tower after tenant renovations are complete.
The anchor tenant of Angelo Tower, JD Fulwiler & Co. Insurance, took up 9,001 square feet on the fourth floor, where the commercial tenants are located. Vice President Scott Wilcox said that moving into the new building from the Vancouver center has made a “world of difference,” allowing about twice the space to expand the insurance company.
“Our new staff and our old staff walk in and say, ‘Holy cow,’ ” Wilcox said.
The FedEx location across the parking lot at another of the Al Angelo Co.’s buildings, called the Al Angelo Building, plans to move over to Angelo Tower soon, too.
Albert C. Angelo Sr. founded the Al Angelo Construction Co. in 1947 to build houses for Kaiser Shipyard workers during World War II. Angelo is known to have sparked a period of development for downtown Vancouver starting in the 1950s. In 1962, Vancouver residents elected him as mayor. He died in 2007, leaving a legacy family business for the next generations to carry on.
Four Angelos work for or own part of the company, including Al Angelo Jr. (aka Corky), Craig Angelo, Gary Angelo and President Albert Angelo III.
The company has accumulated or built more than 1 million square feet of commercial office and retail space in Clark County, and it has real estate holdings in four states, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Arizona.
His great-grandfather’s obituary sits on Albert Angelo III’s desk at his office as a reminder: “I still read it and keep it on my desk at work to remember those who made it happen and the legacy we are lucky to carry on,” he said.