Hampton Inn & Suites nears completion

East Vancouver hotel aims to open to visitors in August

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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By August, operators of Vancouver’s first Hampton Inn & Suites expect to be attracting visitors to the chain’s newest state-of-the-art hotel in east Vancouver.

Construction is nearing completion on the four-story project on a portion of the former Evergreen Airport site off Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and 136th Avenue. Work started in September on the 99-room facility, which will feature a fully equipped fitness room, an indoor swimming pool, a 1,400-square-foot conference room, and an open lobby in which to take advantage of the company’s breakfast amenities, said Taylor Nintzel, general manager of the new hotel. He expects to hire between 30 and 40 people to staff the hotel at 315 S.E. Olympia Drive.

While hotel construction is moving ahead, other aspects of developing the former airport are taking more time. The 59-acre site is master-planned for a development called The Landing, once planned as an upscale lifestyle center of large and small retailers, offices, a hotel and housing.

Those plans fell by the wayside as the economy faltered.

An LLC called B52 Point of Evergreen purchased the airport from its original developers, Opus Northwest, for $10.4 million in 2011. B52, affiliated with the developers of Chuck’s Produce and Street Market, has added access roads to the site, along with sidewalks and curbs. The company is also affiliated with Hawthorn Retirement Group, a family business that owns a string of more than 40 senior living facilities in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

The centers and Chuck’s stores are developed by the family’s Salem, Ore.-based construction firm, Colson & Colson General Contractors, also building the hotel.

No additional construction projects at the airport site are being announced at this time, according to Matt Harrell, a spokesman for the family’s Vancouver-based development arm, Harvest Development. He declined to disclose the cost of the hotel development.

Harvest Development hired a commercial real estate firm last fall to market retail and commercial space at the former airport site. The hotel is the first tenant space.

Nintzel said no specific opening date has been set for the Hampton Inn & Suites.

“It’s still a very tentative plan. We’re aiming for early August,” he said.

He said the Hampton brand is a franchise of Hilton and traditionally caters to a business clientele.

“But we’re definitely welcome to families as well,” Nintzel said. “We’re very excited to bring this brand to the Vancouver area.”