Written by Erin Schneider | Nicholas Shannon Kulmac, October 31, 2014, Vancouver Business Journal
Red LionRed Lion Corporation and the Port of Vancouver USA are working together on a plan to bring a new multi-story building to the Vancouver waterfront.
Preliminary discussions indicate that the mixed-use building will feature parking, ground-floor retail and above-ground office spaces and hotel rooms. The port has also explored the option of having port staff occupy a portion of the building’s office space.
Though the exact location of the building has not been disclosed, port officials indicated during a commission meeting earlier this week that it would be located near the rail line, west of Columbia Street.
The port is now in the process of bringing a project consultant on board and expects to issue a Request for Proposals sometime next month. Officials said they hope to have a project developer lined up within the next six to nine months.
“It’s exciting, but a lot more needs to be figured out over the next year,” said Port of Vancouver CEO Todd Coleman, during the meeting.
The plans are unfolding as the Port of Vancouver considers the fate of 13 acres of port-owned waterfront real estate, which includes the property where the Red Lion at Quay sits (100 Columbia Street).
Port commissioners have indicated that they would like to see the property (also known as Terminal 1) enhance the larger waterfront development project that’s being led by the city of Vancouver and Columbia Waterfront LLC.
“We want our work to support the city’s success on the Vancouver City Center Vision,” said Katy Brooks, director of business development for the port. “And we hope the waterfront becomes a vibrant community asset and something Vancouver can be proud to share.”
The journey toward updating Terminal 1 actually began in 2006. The port set out to improve the usability of the space through building overpasses and designing landscaping around preexisting train tracks.
Recently, when the Red Lion came forward with the idea of working together to update their facility and the waterfront, officials saw it as the next natural step in Terminal 1’s evolution.
“We’ve always contemplated that we would be redeveloping the waterfront at some point, and things clicked into place with us,” said Brooks. “The Red Lion has been a part of the Vancouver waterfront history for a long time. They approached us and said ‘we love it in Vancouver; is there anything the port could do that would involve a new building?’”
The port’s waterfront property means a lot to all parties involved, and officials said the goal is to honor the history of the space through art and public access. Terminal 1 was the first location of the port and the first place in Vancouver used to ship prunes, apples and lumber from the area.
“When you come across the I-5 Bridge, we want people to look down and say ‘holy smokes, these people have it going on,’” said Brooks. “We want to bring the public back down to the waterfront.”
“It’s our birthplace and it’s also the birthplace of Red Lion in Washington,” added Abbi Russell, communications manager for the port. “It’s a really important property.”
Officials have not commented on what the planned multi-use building means for the future of the Red Lion at the Quay. Officials at Red Lion Corporation did not respond to a request for comment.