Shipbuilder Vigor picks Vancouver for Army landing craft manufacturing

Shipbuilder Vigor picks Vancouver for Army landing craft manufacturing

Former Christensen site could bring 400 jobs to Vancouver with $1 billion contract

Vigor, a Portland-based shipbuilder with footprints in Washington and Oregon, delivered a massive boost to Vancouver’s riverfront industry Friday, announcing it has chosen the city to build a new generation U.S. Army landing craft under a nearly $1 billion contract.

Work at the Vancouver site in the Columbia Business Park is expected to begin in May or June, with other Vigor marine building preceding the Army project. About 200 skilled laborers will be hired initially; up to 200 more could be working at the site when it is fully operational.

Vigor will invest millions in capital upgrades and equipment to the site, company officials said.

The Portland-based company announced in late 2017 it had won the Army contract, which, at $979,390,000 over 10 years, is the largest in Vigor’s history. A search for a building location then ensued.

The project calls for construction of the Army’s landing craft called Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) or MSV(L). Projects now underway at Vigor’s company in Ballard — Vigor Kvichak — will shift to Vancouver. The Ballard facility will close.

Portland, Seattle and other locations in Washington were considered for the Army project and other Kvichak-acquired work. Vancouver appears to have emerged as a candidate only in recent months, and city officials didn’t know the company’s intentions for certain until this week.

Frank Foti, Vigor CEO, in an interview with The Columbian, praised Vancouver’s travel brochure-worthy charms and a quality manufacturing site for choosing the city.