The Port of Vancouver is making strides at its own waterfront project this month.
A 1,200-foot path that would span the port’s 10-acre property, known as Terminal 1, was granted $485,000 by the Southwest Regional Transportation Council on Wednesday.
The path connects the Waterfront Renaissance Trail, which stretches east to Wintler Park, to new trails crossing the other waterfront development, The Waterfront Vancouver, to the west.
Commissioner Jerry Oliver, who serves on the council’s 14-member board, said in a statement that the grant was an important step for the port’s waterfront plans.
“The port is building on its vision for the waterfront, and this grant from RTC will help us reach that vision,” he said.
Terminal 1 is a mixed-use project, designed for shops, restaurants, offices and more along the port-owned property along the Columbia River, at the former Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay.
The funds are the first steps for the Terminal 1, said project manager Jonathan Eder, after it was endorsed by Vancouver City Council in June. The grant will help pay for security lighting, landscaping, benches, public art and signs.
Still, the grant covers only 12 percent of the estimated $4 million it would take to design, engineer and build the trail. Port spokeswoman Magan Reed said they are “committed” to the path and will pursue other funding options to get it built.
Construction is expected to start in 2018. Designs show the trail will cut across the parking lot for restaurant WareHouse ’23.
The port still plans to build a public market, similar to a covered Farmers Market, at the south end of the property where WareHouse ’23 is located. Those plans could hedge left or right, Eder said, because the port has to see how plans for a new Interstate 5 Bridge unfold.
The port’s trail project, one of seven projects the Regional Transportation Council weighed on Wednesday. The agency awarded all seven projects at least partially, including trail projects in Stevenson, Ridgefield, Battle Ground and Klickitat County.
Besides making its first steps with a partially funded trail, the Port of Vancouver is also close to booking a new guest.
Port commissioners will decide Tuesday whether to move forward on The AC by Marriott, a potential 150-room hotel at Terminal 1. Construction would be led by a corporation called T1 Hotel LLC.
Rick Takach, who owns both Vesta Hospitality and T1 Hotel, said Thursday he “felt pretty good” about his chances of getting approved.
“We worked over a year and a half to get to this point. I heard nobody say there’s a problem,” he said. “I mean, obviously you never know, but I think there’s a (deal in place) that’s really good for both entities.”
The deal shows T1 Hotel would sign a 50-year lease for a 38,000-square-foot block of Terminal 1. Its rent to the port would be based on a percentage of room revenues, which the port estimated to be worth $25 million over the lifetime of the lease.
There are also options to tack on two 15-year extensions to the lease.
The hotel could also employ more than 80 people between its restaurant, shops and actual hotel.
Takach declined to talk about the specifics of the hotel, saying it could change depending on the commissioners’ decision Tuesday. Details reported in the past say it would be six stories tall with a rooftop lounge.
“If they approve on Tuesday, then I’ll start going full steam ahead. At this point it’s all architecturally conceptual,” he said.
Vesta is known locally for owning and operating Homewood Suites along Columbia Shores Boulevard near Beaches and McMenamins, as well as two other hotels near Portland International Airport. Since its founding in 1996, the company has built, bought and sold nearly 50 hotels.