Even if golden shovels weren’t customary at groundbreakings, Dean Kirkland may have wanted one anyway.
The Vancouver developer broke ground on what will be the sixth and seventh buildings to rise at The Waterfront Vancouver on Wednesday. With friends, family and employees nearby, he said he relished the chance to start building the opulent project he has spent years planning.
“It’s a big moment. It took us three years to get through the process and planning. It’s a great moment for the city of Vancouver,” he said. Then, before he went and grabbed a shovel, he added, “It’s not every day you build a $100 million project.”
The pair of buildings won’t open until 2020, but Kirkland hopes to give people something to daydream about.
Hotel Indigo, an eight-story hotel, will offer amenities including concierge services, valet, food delivery, dry cleaning and a dog-washing station. Hotel stays will probably cost about $200 per night, Kirkland said.
Did You Know?
• The Hotel Indigo and Kirkland Tower will become the sixth and seventh buildings at The Waterfront Vancouver, but they won’t be the last.
• There are 21 city blocks expected to be developed at the $1.5 billion riverside district, of which five blocks are under construction.
• The only project that has been submitted for permits but has not yet broken ground is a wooden high-rise south of Vancouver City Hall.
• Phase one of the waterfront will open later this year. It includes an office tower, two residential buildings, two restaurant buildings, a city park and the 90-foot Grant Street Pier.
Kirkland Tower, a 12-story condominium building, will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom condos whose residents can tap into the hotel amenities, too. Thirteen condo owners will have “stacker” parking spaces to accommodate multiple cars. Condo prices have not yet been revealed.
“It’s just not going to be your average building,” said Kevork Isikbay, director of finance for Kirkland Development.
The buildings will have four restaurants between them, plus 17,000 square feet of retail space for shops and other restaurants. Kirkland said those spaces are nearly leased but has not yet announced tenants.
Now that the ceremony is over, workers will soon begin to dig more than 30 feet into the ground to make room for a two-story parking garage that will boast 206 spaces. Because of the nearby Columbia River, they will have to use a cofferdam to keep the hole watertight until concrete is poured in September.
Nicholas Lilly, chief operating officer for Kirkland Construction Group, said he did not expect the river’s high water level to pose a problem.
Wednesday’s event also marked Hotel Indigo as the first of three proposed hotels in the downtown core to start construction. The AC by Marriott, proposed near the former Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay, is expected to break ground next year. A third hotel, from Evergreen Hospitality, is proposed.
Building first might give Hotel Indigo an advantage, but Dana Gardner, project manager for Kirkland Development, said she hopes to see them all get built.
“I really do think there’s more of a need for more hotels down here to have us compete with Portland,” she said. “I do think the more the merrier.”