Local

Officials break ground for long-planned boutique hotel in Richland

Walla Walla native Tom Drumheller, far left, of Escape Lodging, is joined by local dignitaries and his partner, Bob Naito, far right, at a ceremonial ground-breaking Monday for their new boutique hotel called The Lodge. The new construction is at 530 Columbia Point Drive in Richland.
Walla Walla native Tom Drumheller, far left, of Escape Lodging, is joined by local dignitaries and his partner, Bob Naito, far right, at a ceremonial ground-breaking Monday for their new boutique hotel called The Lodge. The new construction is at 530 Columbia Point Drive in Richland. Tri-City Herald

The Lodge at Columbia Point, a planned 82-room boutique hotel in Richland, will have many amenities but will not be “trendy,” the developer said Monday at a ground-breaking nine years in the making.

“Here in a few years, it will not go out of style,” said Tom Drumheller, CEO of Escape Lodging of Cannon Beach, Ore. “It will age gracefully.”

Drumheller, a Walla Walla native, praised his fellow investors and current and former Richland city officials who helped make the Lodge at Columbia Point a reality.

He first discussed the idea in 2006, but the project was sidetracked because of the recession.

“The hotel project has been fermenting for a few years — just like a great wine,” he told about about 75 people before turning golden shovels.

The wine analogy was not an accident. Drumheller plans to closely align the hotel with the wine industry. It will feature a wine tasting room and each of its guest rooms will be named after a winery in the region. He hopes the wineries will have social hours at the hotel once or twice a year.

The hotel will not be part of a national chain, said Michael Abbott with Abbott Architecture of Woodinville. Escape Lodging’s Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach maximizes the beach experience. Native building materials could be used in construction.

Boutique hotels also have fewer than 100 rooms, he said.

“Boutique hotels typically remind people of their own living rooms and their own experiences at home,” Abbott said.

However, not being part of a chain made it more difficult to get financing. So Drumheller pounded the pavement in cities across the Northwest to find investors, also bringing in some from the Mid-Columbia.

Drumheller made an extra effort to get a hotel in Columbia Point. Bob Naito of Portland, Drumheller’s business partner, said the site, wedged between Anthony’s Restaurant and the Marriott Courtyard hotel, is a “10” on a scale of one to 10.

“They aren’t making sites like this on the Columbia River,” he said. “They aren’t making sites with a fabulous marina in front of it.”

The majority of the rooms at the hotel will face the river and each will have a fireplace, Drumheller said. Each river-facing room will have a large balcony.

The hotel will feature a library and living room area on the first floor, along with a wood-burning fireplace, Abbott said. It also will include two spa rooms for treatments like massages and pedicures.

It will have large doors that open up onto an outdoor seating area with a large fire pit. It also will have a covered swimming pool, Abbott said.

“It embraces social interaction and guest experience,” he said.

Bill King, who retired as Richland’s community development director earlier this year, wasn’t able to see the hotel built while he had the job. But he was still on hand Monday for the ground-breaking.

“This is so wonderful to see this day finally here,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of patience, but it’s great to finally break ground.”

The hotel will cost between $10 million and $20 million, and will employ between 35 and 45 people, Drumheller said. Groundwork for cable and sewer service began in May and he expects to take a year to complete the project.

Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

  Comments