Never-used Richland propertyto become Hilton

RICHLAND -- It's never been occupied, and now the Tuscan-style building north of the Richland fire station on George Washington Way is being remodeled.

The city recently issued a $10.8 million building permit for the planned four-story,114-room riverfront hotel.

When completed in 2012, the hotel will become a Hilton Homewood Suites -- an extended-stay hotel catering mainly to business travelers and Hanford contractors.

Initially, the building was designed to serve as the clubhouse for the Waterford Place condominium development.

"When the condo plans fell apart in 2008, it put a halt to all construction," said Chris Bornhoft, development coordinator for Vandervert Development and Hotels in Spokane.

Richard Vandervert, president of the development firm and Vandervert Construction, is a partner in the hotel project.

"They'll be more suite-style, with two main rooms, a living room area with kitchenette and dining table, and a bedroom. The rooms are larger than most hotel rooms with nicer furniture and more amenities, including a full breakfast served down in the lobby eating area," Bornhoft said.

There are no plans for a full-service restaurant or bar.

The Waterford Place clubhouse -- with a lap pool, two hot tubs, an exercise room, a gathering area and catering kitchen -- was completed but untouched since construction stalled.

"Many, many people have wanted to rent (the clubhouse) out for weddings and other events, but we've been nervous about accommodating them in case we were able to resume construction," Bornhoft said. "We didn't want to be in the middle of construction with a wedding scheduled."

Work has begun on footings for the hotel, but passersby won't see much change until mid-October when framing is scheduled to start. A key addition will be creating the reception desk.

It's owned by Richland Riverview LLC, which includes Vandervert, Bob Haney and Dr. Lloyd Butler, but is very much a Hilton product, Bornhoft said.

"They have to approve of everything we do. They will be very involved in the building process all along," he said.

There also are plans to add an office building over a parking garage to the north of the hotel.

"The project has morphed quite a bit since they first started," said Rick Simon, development services manager for Richland. "We are looking forward to seeing it done."

The project replaced aging apartments that were razed in 2005.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com