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Kirkland Tower at Waterfront Vancouver to open this fall

By , Columbian business reporter
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Kirkland Tower, left, the nearly completed condo tower at The Waterfront Vancouver, is pictured with Hotel Indigo at The Waterfront Vancouver on Tuesday morning. The two projects from Vancouver-based Kirkland Development are being built together but will function as separate buildings.
Kirkland Tower, left, the nearly completed condo tower at The Waterfront Vancouver, is pictured with Hotel Indigo at The Waterfront Vancouver on Tuesday morning. The two projects from Vancouver-based Kirkland Development are being built together but will function as separate buildings. ( Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

More than three years after it broke ground, The Waterfront Vancouver’s biggest development to date is entering the home stretch of construction. Kirkland Tower began taking pre-sale reservations for condos earlier this month, and both it and the adjacent Hotel Indigo are slated to open in the fall.

The 40-unit condo tower and 138-room hotel from builder Kirkland Development are both the first of their kind for the Waterfront; all of the prior buildings have featured various mixes of apartments, professional offices and retail and restaurant spaces.

In addition to the novel mix of uses, the project aims to set itself apart by offering a luxury lifestyle with amenities and a suite of guest and resident services that go beyond what the Waterfront has seen so far.

“I think we’re going to set the tone,” said Kirkland Development Vice President Victoria Kirkland. 

The 12-story condo tower and eight-story boutique hotel are being built as a single 250,000-square-foot structure, but — aside from a couple of secure indoor connections to allow tower residents to access the hotel — they will function as separate buildings.

The distinction is visible in the design of the structure – the tower portion is four stories taller and features a sheer glass curtain wall, while the hotel uses a mix of glass and solid walls. Both sections are now almost complete from the outside, with mostly only ground-level construction still visible.

The two buildings share a single underground garage, which will feature both valet services and self-parking, director of sales Rebecca Lee said, along with EV charging capability in every stall. Some of the residential stalls will include a “stacked” parking option to save space.

The project was initially targeted for completion in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic stretched out the timeline, according to Kirkland project development director Dana Gardner. Builders across the industry have found themselves dealing with labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and lengthened wait times for materials during the past 18 months.

In some of those cases, the project was far enough along that the impact was minimal, Gardner said, although it couldn’t escape completely unscathed — for example, one light fixture order had a 38-week wait until delivery.

The project’s cost has also risen over the course of its development cycle, from an estimated $100 million at the time it broke ground to closer to $150 million at the end, according to Gardner. The delays did not force any changes to the scope or scale of the project, however — Gardner and Lee said the final product is being delivered exactly as envisioned.

Condo tower

The condo tower sales office officially opened July 15, located in the adjacent Murdock building to give prospective buyers a close-up view of the tower.

The tower has enjoyed a strong buzz from the very beginning; the sign-up list of interested parties had reached 150 before the project even broke ground, Gardner said, and now stands at more than 1,100. The first ten units landed pre-sale reservations in the first week, Lee added.

“Demand is fantastic,” Lee said. “It’s perfect.”

The majority of the inquiries so far have come from Pacific Northwest residents, she said, although the tower has already been attracting calls from California even though Kirkland is only just now beginning to market it there.

Half of the leasing office has been converted into a model unit to display the kitchen and bathroom finishes and appliances. The condos are targeting an upscale approach, Lee said, with the features that might otherwise be marketed as add-ons, such as bidets, included as standard.

The 40 condos are arranged five to a floor, with the bottom two floors given over to retail and lobby space and the top floor reserved for a fitness center and an events space featuring an outdoor deck with a catering kitchen and dining area. There’s also an entertainment center on one of the midlevel floors.

The units range from 900 to 3,100 square feet, in configurations from one bedroom up to three bedroom penthouses. Prices start at $840,000 and top out at $3.3 million, according to a PR firm promoting the project.

Connecting doors in the hallways will give condo residents direct indoor access to the hotel and its amenities — including room service provided by the 13 Coins restaurant in the hotel. The condos will also have a 24-hour concierge desk.

The tower features two ground-floor retail spaces on the north and south sides, with the parking garage ramps and resident lobby entrance in between. The south-facing suite will host a wine bar from Hood River, Ore.-based Evoke Winery, and Lee said the north side is slated to open as a spa.

Hotel Indigo

The hotel side includes two main restaurant spaces which have been claimed by El Gaucho Steakhouse and 13 Coins, both of which are well-known in the Pacific Northwest upscale restaurant scene.

The hotel also features a bar on the eighth floor called the Witness Tree Lounge, with a staircase up to additional seating on the south side of the roof. El Gaucho will operate the hotel bar, while 13 Coins will provide room service for the hotel and condos.

Two smaller ground-floor retail suites are slated to host a coffee shop and The Liquor Cabinet, a new retail venture from Kirkland Development President Dean Kirkland. The coffee tenant will be announced at a future date, Lee said.

The upper-floor condo tower amenities are private, but all of the retail tenants — including the Witness Tree — will be open to guests and the public, according to Gardner.

The retail suites occupy the ground floor space on the east side of the building, while the hotel’s ground floor lobby extends through the center of the building with entrances on the north and south sides.

A grand staircase leads from the lobby up to the atrium on the second floor of the hotel, which extends up seven stories to a large glass skylight in the roof. Most of the hotel rooms open out onto balcony walkways that ring the central atrium.

“When you walk in, you can look straight up,” Gardner said.

The atrium connects to the hotel’s Columbia Terrace Ballroom along the south side on the second floor and extending out onto the building’s south-facing balcony. The ballroom can be divided into up to four spaces as needed.

Both restaurants have started to build out their spaces, Gardner said, with El Gaucho set to open in September or October and 13 Coins set to follow in October or November. The hotel is targeted to open in that same time frame, she said — likely in between the two restaurant opening dates — with the tower following close behind.

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