Reprinted from the Columbian
By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor / Published: June 1, 2016
With one new upscale hotel already planned for Vancouver’s waterfront, commercial property developer Dean Kirkland believes there’s room for at least one more.
Kirkland, chairman of Vancouver-based Kirkland Development, said Wednesday that he plans to launch construction next spring of a hotel-condominium building at the foot of Esther Street, within the 32-acre Vancouver Waterfront development that is finally getting traction after years of preparatory work. Kirkland’s disclosure to The Columbian of the approximately $40 million project, to be branded Hotel Indigo, comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that Vancouver-based Vesta Hospitality will build an AC Hotel by Marriott at the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 1, immediately east of the planned Hotel Indigo. Construction of that project could be two years away, Vesta executives said.
Both hotels will be within easy walking distance of the Hilton Vancouver Washington and its convention facilities. But Kirkland, whose company is a major property developer along east Vancouver’s 192nd Avenue corridor, has no worries about a surplus of downtown hotel rooms.
“The more the merrier,” Kirkland said. “The timing is right for the Vancouver waterfront.”
The downtown waterfront hotel boom may not be over yet. Gramor Development, master developer of the waterfront site, hasn’t ruled out adding another hotel to the waterfront mix. It’s definitely a strong possibility in the longer term, Gramor President Barry Cain said in a statement.
Kirkland purchased his property, known as Block 4, from Gramor. Kirkland has selected Portland-based OTAK as the project architect and PBS Engineering and Environmental as the project’s civil engineer, he said. Construction is expected to take 16 months.
A key element of Kirkland’s project is its blend of a six-floor, 120-room hotel with an attached five-floor building that will contain 30 to 33 condominiums. Condo residents will be able to take advantage of the hotel’s amenities, including a swimming pool and meal delivery to rooms, while having their own entrance and elevators.
The hotel lobby will be on the building’s second floor to accommodate a ground-level restaurant and retail space. Parking for both hotel guests and condo residents will be on two underground levels.
Kirkland said he believes the waterfront condos will appeal to local residents and newcomers. “People are looking for a simpler life,” he said.
Hotel Indigo is one of many brands of the vast InterContinental hotel chain, which also operates Holiday Inn, Candlewood Suites, and Crowne Plaza. Indigo is a worldwide chain with only a few of its U.S. hotels located west of the Mississippi, and none in the Northwest. The InterContinental website describes Indigo as “offering a genuine boutique experience with the reliability and benefits of a brand. Each hotel is designed to reflect the sights, sounds and character of the neighborhoods where we’re located.”
Though this is Kirkland’s first waterfront venture, the company has spent the last several years developing 18 blocks of mostly commercial property in the 192nd Avenue corridor. Among the company’s projects is a Candlewood Hotel, which Kirkland said has done better than expected since its opening during the winter. His company will soon launch construction of a Holiday Inn Express not far away.
Other waterfront projects announced so far are a Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar and an office building that will serve as new home to the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Bids are due this week on construction of the Grant Street Pier, a centerpiece of the 7.3-acre, $27 million waterfront park that will be under construction this summer. Both are expected to be complete by late 2017.