(Gordon Oliver/The Columbian)
Owners of the Thai Orchid restaurant in downtown Vancouver have purchased a nearby building for the business, which they plan to move to the new location in early 2013.
The downtown venue has served Thai cuisine since 1997 at the corner of West Evergreen Boulevard and Washington Street. It will move to 213 W. 11th St., on the southeast corner of West 11th and Columbia streets, a building that was once an annex to the two-story former Koplan's Home Furnishings store. The main building is now being renovated as offices for Gravitate, a Web design, development and branding business.
Thai Orchid's husband-and-wife owners Cat Saenguraiporn and Noom Boonkunchieng purchased the annex building for $750,000 from downtown developer and property owner Ryan Hurley, of Hurley Development.
"They (Thai Orchid owners) have been leasing for 15 years," said Jim West, a commercial real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Jenkins Associates, speaking on behalf of Saenguraiporn and Boonkunchieng.
"Now they'll build equity by paying off the mortgage," said West, who brokered the deal.
He said plans for the newly purchased building — formerly a showroom and office space for Koplan's — include a sushi bar, state-of-the-art kitchen, and both indoor and open-air dining space.
"The building has beautiful high ceilings with wooden trusses and great light with windows on the north side," he said.
Hurley said the building drew several other potential buyers, mainly companies who were looking for office space. "That's because small buildings in downtown Vancouver are hard to come by," said Hurley, who in December 2011 purchased the former Koplan's site jointly with Gravitate for between $1.7 million and $2 million.
Gravitate has since moved its business into the two-story portion of the site, a vacant former furniture showroom at 1012 Washington St. The company is simultaneously renovating parts of the building.
Hurley ended up with the single-story structure, which he had always planned to sell.
"It was always going to be a for-sale project," he said.
West said owners of Thai Orchid will have the next three or four months to let clients know about the restaurant's impending move.
"They have a tremendously loyal clientele," he said of the popular downtown restaurant.
The Thai Orchid's original owners were Na and Penny Saenguraiporn, who sold the restaurant to Cat Saenguraiporn and Noom Boonkunchieng in 2009.