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News / Business

Hotels sprouting in east Vancouver

City will gain hundreds of new rooms in the next two years

By Justin Runquist, Columbian Small Cities Reporter
Published: January 5, 2015, 4:00pm

Construction is quickly moving along at a new Candlewood Suites in east Vancouver, one of several new hotels that will add hundreds more rooms to the city in the next two years.

Crews broke ground on the hotel at the corner of 192nd Avenue and 20th Street in 2014, aiming to wrap things up this summer. Just a short drive away on Mill Plain Boulevard, construction is also ready to take off on a new TownePlace Suites by Marriott.

Meanwhile, plans are also in the works for a 10 story hotel on Vancouver’s waterfront and a new Red Lion hotel as part of a larger project to redevelop Terminal 1, where the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay stands today. Construction on the 10-story hotel is projected to begin this year.

Altogether, the developments reflect positive trends for Clark County hotels over the past year, said Jacob Schmidt, a spokesman for the Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office. In 2014, the county’s hotel occupancy rate climbed to 70.2 percent, a roughly 5 percent increase from 2013 that outstrips the current statewide occupancy rate by nearly two percent.

“Clark County hotels have seen an increased demand as the area’s economy has recovered,” Schmidt said in an email to The Columbian. “In 2013, visitor spending to Clark County increased by 5.1 percent, outpacing counties of similar population sizes such as Spokane County, which posted a visitor spending percentage increase of 1.7 percent over the same time period.”

And the growth trend is getting its start in east Vancouver, as more businesses continue to take root near the Columbia Tech Center and along 192nd Avenue.

“The hotel developments in east Vancouver mark Vancouver’s first new hotel construction projects since the 2008 recession and the first extensive hotel construction projects completed since 2009,” Schmidt said. “This growth continues to provide a steady influx in business travelers for both new and existing hotels in east Vancouver.”

With the recent addition of the 99-room Hampton Inn and Suites at Vancouver’s former Evergreen Airport site on Mill Plain Boulevard, Clark County currently has 2,698 hotel rooms, according to the latest Smith Travel Research report. The number will increase to about 2,986 next year once the Candlewood Inn and TownePlace Suites hotels open, Schmidt said.

The four-story Candlewood Suites will add more than 80 rooms to the market when it opens, said Dean Kirkland, who’s building the hotel with his business partner Tom Files, both of whom are with K & F Ventures & Holdings. The hotel is designed to match the design of the surrounding buildings in the new 192nd Avenue Plaza retail center, where a 9,000-square-foot commercial building is also under construction next to the hotel.

“We think the hotel will add value to the community in many ways for commerce,” Kirkland said. “It’ll be very opulent. It’ll be higher end.”

For Kirkland, the location of the new hotel on the east side of the city makes sense. It’ll serve a number of growing businesses in east Vancouver and Camas, such as Fisher Investments, he said.

“It’s the highest income area in Clark County, and easy access to get on (Highway) 14,” he said. “The growth has really gone to the east.”

Bringing new hotel brands to the local market tends to increase demand as more rooms become available for larger events, Schmidt said.

As construction continues, plans are also in the works to spruce up the Hilton, in downtown Vancouver, a roughly $3 million project that will coincide with its 10-year anniversary celebration. The project continues a trend of recent hotel renovations throughout the city, Schmidt said.

Columbian Small Cities Reporter