Richland boutique hotel construction could start later this year

Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldMay 26, 2014 

A boutique-style hotel overlooking the Columbia River in Richland is moving forward.

Construction on The Lodge at Columbia Point could start later this year. The hotel will have 82 guest rooms, most with decks, plus amenities including an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, fire pits and library.

"We're hoping the community feels very welcome there. We've talked about being Richand's, the Tri-Cities' living room," said Tom Drumheller, one of the developers.

He's chief executive officer of Escape Lodging in Cannon Beach, and is partnering with Portland developer Bob Naito on the project.

The Richland City Council recently authorized the city manager to sign and execute a lease agreement for The Lodge.

"The timing -- I don't think it could be better," said Brian Moore, the city's redevelopment project supervisor. "The market for building a hotel is very strong right now. Now is the time."

The city owns the land -- about two acres to the west of the Anthony's at Columbia Point restaurant -- where the hotel will sit.

City officials sought developers to build a boutique-style hotel there, circulating a request for proposals last year. The city ultimately picked The Lodge plan.

The city also owns land to the east of Anthony's, where another restaurant is envisioned. Officials sought proposals for that site as well, although the one that came back fell through.

Moore said the plan is to reissue a request for proposals for the restaurant site in June.

A third city-owned Columbia Point site -- a larger swath of land near the Shilo Inn -- also was part of the request, envisioned as a mixed-use entertainment area.

No proposals came back for that site. Moore said city officials are looking at the site and don't immediately plan to go out again for proposals.

"As the planning sort of clarifies what we'd like to do with the site, we'll start rolling some things out," he said.

The Lodge at Columbia Point is estimated to bring in about $427,000 annually to the city in lease and tax revenue.

Under the lease, construction must start by September 2015 and wrap up by the following year, although Drumheller said it could start earlier -- this fall.

"We're looking forward to coming to the Tri-Cities and building something very special," he said.

"We are really looking forward to getting started and really looking forward to opening up."

-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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