Vancouver, WA, is rapidly emerging as a highly livable city in the US. As bigger cities become expensive and overcrowded, Americans are slowly turning their attention towards smaller, more manageable cities. These smaller cities offer lower rents, a stronger community, and affordable sources of entertainment, while maintaining the services that people are accustomed to.
In 2021, SmartAsset analyzed 500 large cities and three cities in Washington state have emerged as leaders, one of which is none other than Vancouver. In the past year, its population has increased by 5% and alongside the hike in population, the GDP has grown by more than 6%. As individuals, families, and businesses gradually make their way toward Vancouver, there is also an increased need for housing and commercial infrastructure.
Catering to this need is a long-time Vancouver resident, Ryan Hurley. Hurley is the founder and CEO of Hurley Development, a development and infrastructure firm. Hurley started his company with a focus on playing an active role in the development of his community. He grew up in Vancouver and attributes much of his success to the golden city of the northwest. Through Hurley’s unwavering commitment and passion, his company has become one of the premier commercial real estate companies in the region. More importantly, the company continues to play an active role in the development of the city.
According to Hurley, what makes Vancouver so unique is its location. “It’s very close to Portland, about 10 miles from it, and being close to a very progressive but metropolitan area, we get the benefits without the drawbacks,” said Hurley. As compared to Oregon, Washington has no personal or corporate net income tax, which has continued to drive growth in recent years. Being close to Portland’s urban areas also means that Vancouver is trendy enough to attract crowds of all types. It is a bustling place known for good food and coffee, and a thriving art and culture scene.
For Hurley, the best feature of life in Vancouver is the mix of different worlds springing up uniquely in the city. “We have what I would consider to be a little bit rural lifestyle blended with urban opportunities,” shared Hurley. In addition to a vibrant urban core, Vancouver also benefits from a incredible natural environment that offers plenty of outdoor activities, including golf, hiking, and camping. The massive Fort Vancouver national historic area, the Columbia river and gorge provide some breathtaking views. A beach and ski runs are only an hour and a half either direction. Doesn’t matter what you like…Vancouver offers something for everyone.
As someone who has always emphasized and worked towards a cohesive community, Hurley appreciates Vancouver’s kind and receptive community. While there may be a threat of the US fracturing along political lines, this city has largely remained immune from division. As Portland is quite progressive, when it comes to politics Vancouver benefits from taking the middle-ground. Elections are always a close call. “I think that’s a positive thing, because that middle ground just provides for understanding a variety of people, their views and issues,” said Hurley.
This middle ground that Hurley is a fan of also includes the climate in Vancouver. It enjoys all four seasons, which gives its residents the chance to enjoy a whole breadth of activities. This has created what Hurley calls a “really sweet pocket of the in-between”.
Good amenities, a welcoming community, a beautiful environment, and access to urban living without the troubles of a big city have attracted thousands of new families to Vancouver. It is the city that you live in if you are working in Portland and are raising a family. The city also attracts scores of people from states other than Oregon, including California. “Half our population came from California,” jokes Hurley.
There has been a huge influx of families from Portland and Hurley’s company has been working double time to accommodate all the new citizens the city has been receiving. Hurley is overseeing a massive project next to the waterfront on the east side of Vancouver called HQ Vancouver, and another beautiful apartment building in downtown called Adera. He is keenly aware of the benefits the population influx brings to the economy, which is why his focuses on affordability without compromising on quality.
“Affordability is such a major facet of HQ and a standard of our developments. We’re offering smart, sophisticated, luxurious living where people of all ages, abilities, incomes, and backgrounds can thrive. We want this environment to bring people together and provide opportunities where everyone has access to housing, lightning-speed fiber internet, recreation, art, and culture,” shared Ryan.
HQ also incorporates a smart city approach, which Hurley thinks will put Vancouver on the national map, adding to its growing rapport. The smart features include public wifi, smart parking, electric-powered driverless cars, and multiple smart security features. The design has been guided by climate consciousness, inclusivity, equity, and affordability, all of which are reflective of Vancouver’s values.
Vancouver is not a place to pass through on the way to Seattle or a vacation town, it has transformed into a place where you build a life. You might take it for granted if you have been living in the area for a while, but those who visit for the first time are blown away. “When you’re new, you’re like, ‘Man, Vancouver’s awesome! It’s brand new and shiny.’ And that perception is even growing for a lot of Portlanders too,” Ryan exclaimed.
Hurley’s company, in addition to developing residential properties, has also developed multiple commercial real estate projects. This has added a boom to the local business, with new restaurants opening up and taking advantage of the modern infrastructure. Hurley opened SAAP Fusion Kitchen, multiple coffee shops, and several sprawling retail centers.
What makes Hurley unique is that his work drives a purpose. Talking about his latest project, he said, “We’re building this for our city and as a model community for the nation that together – even in the multifamily, retail, and entertainment real estate environments – we can actually achieve things like carbon neutrality, inclusivity, and affordability.”