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News / Business / Clark County Business

Dean Kirkland keeps building despite legal disputes

Lawyer: Vancouver developer does not have financial issues

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 27, 2024, 6:06am
2 Photos
Dean Kirkland, chairman of Kirkland Developments, left, oversees work on the foundation of Hotel Indigo along the Vancouver Waterfront in 2018. The developer has faced legal headwinds in recent months.
Dean Kirkland, chairman of Kirkland Developments, left, oversees work on the foundation of Hotel Indigo along the Vancouver Waterfront in 2018. The developer has faced legal headwinds in recent months. (The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Prominent Vancouver developer Dean Kirkland said Friday that his Clark County projects are continuing despite facing legal headwinds in recent months.

Earlier this month, The Oregonian reported on a foreclosure filed late last year against a Kirkland hotel being built in Washington County, Ore.

The lawsuit and another billing dispute in Multnomah County, Ore., are not signs of a financial issue with the development company, Kirkland’s lawyer maintains.

“The issues with the (hotel) arise out of an internal membership dispute that has nothing to do with the health of Kirkland companies,” said Kevin Sali, an attorney representing Kirkland. The hotel is part of a larger development, Kirkland Place.

Each Kirkland development is its own legal entity, a common practice for developers. Thus, the project in Washington County isn’t linked to any of Kirkland’s Clark County projects.

‘We’re very proud’

“We’ve been in business for 35 years, built lots of buildings around the community and left our footprint,” Kirkland said. “We’re very proud of the buildings we’ve built, and we take it very seriously.”

Kirkland Development completed its Kirkland Tower and Hotel Indigo at The Waterfront Vancouver in 2022. It’s working on projects at the Columbia Palisades east of Southeast 192nd Avenue in Camas and a redevelopment project just east of the Interstate 5 Bridge at the site of Who Song & Larry’s and the now-defunct Joe’s Crab Shack.

The foreclosure lawsuit, filed in Washington County, was brought by Georgia-based Access Point Financial, which helped finance Kirkland’s hotel. The lawsuit names Kirkland and his wife as defendants.

The lender claimed a loan for the hotel was taken out in February 2020, with expectation that the hotel would be completed in 2021. The project is still under construction, though largely completed at this point.

Access Point alleges that the loan came to maturity in 2022 and was not repaid, according to a Nov. 15 complaint.

Kirkland said his team understands the risks of the market and economic unknowns that those in the industry must deal with.

“A lot depends on what’s going on in the world at that time,” Kirkland said.

The pandemic greatly delayed development projects around the country.

And with inflation, developers face higher construction costs and difficulties getting financing.

The Oregonian also reported that Kirkland Development and Portland architecture firm OTAK filed dueling legal actions against each other in December.

Kirkland Development alleged that OTAK billed the developer for much more than the architecture firm originally bid projects, according to a Dec. 22 complaint filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

OTAK filed liens, since removed, against the developer in Clark County.

Sali said Kirkland and his company are proud to have worked through the economic challenges facing the development industry.

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“They are continuing to push forward and do great work in these times,” Sali said.

“We will continue to build great things in the community for a long time to come,” Kirkland said.

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