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Dec. 9, 2022

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Crews start demolition at Vancouver Red Lion at the Quay

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
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6 Photos
Demolition crews tear into a section of the former Red Lion at the Quay on Tuesday morning. The building's demolition will take four to six weeks.
Demolition crews tear into a section of the former Red Lion at the Quay on Tuesday morning. The building's demolition will take four to six weeks. ( Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Red Lion at the Quay is coming down — and no, the fire last month didn’t cause it to come down sooner.

Workers have been slowly demolishing the 62-year-old hotel and restaurant building while deconstructing some of the pieces of lumber and windows to use in other projects. Crews started tearing down the western side of the building with a grappling excavator on Monday, and they’ll continue work, finishing in four to six weeks, according to Mark Newell, project delivery manager at the Port of Vancouver.

The Red Lion building sits on a concrete dock, supported by about 900 century-old wooden pilings sunk into the bed of the Columbia River. Those materials are a separate contract that’s still in a permitting phase, Newell said. They could be reclaimed and used in another project, but there’s been no decision.

At the end of the Red Lion building demolition, the concrete dock will be fenced off for safety. The port plans to remove the concrete dock and wooden pilings at the end of next year. In 2024, a new dock will be built there, estimated to cost $34.3 million, according to the Port of Vancouver.

The majority of the demolished material is being trucked to Waste Connections in Vancouver, but asbestos-containing materials were sent to the Wasco County Landfill, Newell said.

The prominent “Red Lion” sign, which was damaged by a fire last month, will likely come down in about two weeks, but there’s no set date right now.

“This will likely occur in small pieces versus a large single crane operation due to the size, considerations with wind,” Newell said.

Some of the century-old wood and other material in the Red Lion Hotel is set for reuse.

“Many of the deconstructed materials are being recycled or reused, including the interior handrails, the 100-year-old timber beams and exterior windows, which will be used to make greenhouses,” said Therese Lang, spokesperson for the Port of Vancouver.

The demolition contract with Keystone Contracting was approved last fall for $1,302,000.

The Port of Vancouver plans to develop the property, part of Terminal 1, into a multibuilding development with a possible marketplace on the new dock. ZoomInfo is also planning to move its headquarters into a building in the Terminal 1 development near the new dock.

The Quay opened in 1960 as one of the most fashionable spots in Vancouver. The Thunderbird/Red Lion company purchased the property in 1973 and owned it until it closed in 2015. It was briefly occupied by WareHouse ‘ ’23 until pandemic restrictions forced it to shut down.

“For years the Quay, and later, the Red Lion, served as an important gathering place where many memories were made,” said Julianna Marler, CEO of the Port of Vancouver. “Every major life event happened here, including proms, engagements, weddings and other milestones. But we’re making a place for new memories to be made with an active and dynamic waterfront for all people to enjoy.”

8 Photos
Demolition continues at the former Red Lion Hotel at the Quay as a sign for the new AC Hotel by Marriott is seen nearby on Tuesday morning, March 8, 2022.
Red Lion demolition Photo Gallery