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March 31, 2023

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Kirkland Tower, Hotel Indigo to soon open at The Waterfront Vancouver

Project endured pandemic delays, supply shortages and price increases

By , Columbian Innovation Editor
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Dean Kirkland, chairman of Kirkland Development, and Kristin Kirkland, president of Kirkland Development, pause for a photo on a deck at Kirkland Tower.
Dean Kirkland, chairman of Kirkland Development, and Kristin Kirkland, president of Kirkland Development, pause for a photo on a deck at Kirkland Tower. (Elayna Yussen for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Perched high atop The Waterfront Vancouver, Kirkland Tower’s top-floor condo allows Dean Kirkland to peer down on the bustling new development.

The 12-floor blue curtain-glass building will be the next addition to the area, as well as the tallest and the most expensive. Packed with amenities and luxuries, the condo tower and conjoined Hotel Indigo give users the feeling of being in Las Vegas. The first words that Kirkland used to describe the building’s journey that hit a significant number of obstacles was “courage, perseverance and sleepless nights,” he said.

Convincing investors to join the lavish project, convincing restaurant owners to open shop, dealing with pandemic delays, shortages and price increases, and also trying to clear their partial-glass atrium ceiling through city code were a few of the challenges that got in the way.

During a recent sneak peek into the joint Kirkland Tower and Hotel Indigo, Dean Kirkland, chairman of Kirkland Development, and Kristin Kirkland, president, were still giving directions to workers for minor tweaks as the building nears the finish line four years and three months after it broke ground. The building is due to open within about 45 days, according to Kirkland.

Upon entering the ground-floor lobby, hotel guests will see lots of marble, bright walls, a bronze tree stump sculpture and high ceilings. From there, doors and passages lead to the various amenities open to the public: the hotel’s atrium, El Gaucho steakhouse, 13 Coins restaurant (and a separate coffee shop), a liquor store, Evoke Winery, a beauty company called Amelie and gold-colored elevators ferrying guests to a rooftop bar called the Witness Tree.

“It’s the Kristin and Dean Kirkland crown jewel of Vancouver,” Dean Kirkland said.

Retail spots

El Gaucho CEO Chad Mackay knew he wanted to open a restaurant when Kirkland approached him before the building’s construction began. But he initially thought that another type of restaurant would fit in better.

But upon visiting The Waterfront Vancouver, when only three buildings were up, Mackay realized that the level of the development’s luxury was on par with El Gaucho, one of the more high-end restaurants in Portland, he said.

“The Waterfront Vancouver wasn’t just a developer selling a dream,” Mackay said. “It was actually being delivered.”

The steakhouse still has the signature dark lighting of its Portland location, but the view of the river is still visible out of tinted windows.

The restaurant is designed with business deals in mind, too. There are private rooms where guests can conduct business, and Mackay said the proximity to Portland International Airport makes it ideal for travelers with minimal traffic.

“About 40 percent of all our business in the Portland location is from the north side,” Mackay said, although he’s confident that there won’t be a loss of business for the Portland El Gaucho with the Vancouver location’s opening.

The new restaurant will employ 55 people, including 15 or 16 for the Witness Tree rooftop bar managed by El Gaucho.

Users take an elevator to Witness Tree, an indoor bar with a balcony and private room with a hidden entrance for guests who want to be under the radar. Custom ceiling design and lighting depict the Witness Tree that is tied to the Lewis and Clark story.

From there, visitors can take a set of stairs up to an outdoor rooftop bar that overlooks the river and even a few buildings in downtown Portland.

On the ground floor is the new 13 Coins restaurant, the fourth of a popular Seattle-based chain that has live music, a full bar, and a full breakfast.

In a separate retail spot, accessible from the street, will be 13 Coins’ first cafe, which will be the second coffee shop to join The Waterfront Vancouver.

The Kirklands are also opening a small liquor store called The Liquor Cabinet, with beer, wine and 50-percent alcohol near the hotel entrance that will serve the general public.

In July, Kirkland Development was given a $31.4 million loan from Bay Point Advisors LLC to finance the opening of the 138-room Hotel Indigo.

More than half of the units in the 40-unit condominium tower have been sold. The prices for available units range from $929,000 to $3,299,000.

“There’s nothing like it in Vancouver,” said Kristin Kirkland.