Sunday, October 17, 2021
Oct. 17, 2021

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Landmark Red Lion Hotel will make way for new projects at Terminal 1

By , Columbian business reporter

It’s almost checkout time for the former Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay.

The red-trimmed riverside building with its massive rooftop sign stands just west of the Interstate 5 Bridge and has been one of downtown Vancouver’s most prominent visual landmarks for decades. A year from now, it will be gone.

Washington’s capital budget for the next two years, approved by the state legislature last weekend and awaiting Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature, includes $1 million to demolish the aging building as part of the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 1 redevelopment project.

The master-planned project calls for the 10-acre site to be redeveloped as a mixed-use community hub, with a new riverside public market center to replace the hotel building. The pier beneath the building will also need to be removed and rebuilt due to its age and seismic vulnerability.

The latest round of state funding will cover demolition of only the building, not the pier, according to port director of communications Therese Lang, but its inclusion in the budget does mean the port will be able to stick to its existing schedule for the building demolition, which calls for the work to begin toward the end of this year and wrap up in early 2022.

Terminal 1 lies at the south end of downtown Vancouver between the BNSF Railway berm and the river. The site was the original Port of Vancouver, but port operations eventually moved to Terminals 2 through 5 at the port’s modern location west of downtown.

Entrepreneur George Gordon Goodrich converted an old prune warehouse on the Terminal 1 pier in the 1960s and opened The Quay Restaurant & Bar, followed by the Inn at the Quay, which at various times carried the Thunderbird, Doubletree and Red Lion brands.

The hotel ceased operations in 2015, but the building remained active until late last year as a restaurant and event space called WareHouse ’23. The building includes some old-growth timbers that the port plans to save and eventually reuse in a planned marketplace building, Lang said.

The remainder of Terminal 1 consists of four city blocks along Columbia Way, all of which are being rebuilt by private developers in partnership with the port.

The AC Hotel by Marriott from Vancouver-based Vesta Hospitality is under construction on one of the blocks, and earlier this month the port approved a lease with BOZ Port of Vancouver, a joint venture from Texas-based Lincoln Property Company and Bridge Investment Group, to develop a pair of connected mixed-use buildings on two more blocks, with construction scheduled to start in the late fall.

The final block is also slated to become a mixed-use development but does not yet have a specific project in the works, although Lang said this month that the lease agreement with Lincoln and Bridge includes an option for Lincoln to develop the final block at some point in the future.

The port also has begun work on a project to renovate the western end of the Terminal 1 pier, to the west of the hotel building. Unlike the rest of the pier, the western portion was in good enough condition to be renovated rather than replaced. It is scheduled to reopen as a public space called Vancouver Landing after the project wraps up later this year.

Columbian business reporter