VANCOUVER, WA-Who will develop a hotel and convention center here and where it will be built remain a mystery this week, six years after the effort began.

Unable to secure the necessary financing commitments in time, Renaissance Resources Group of Arizona last week lost its right to exclusive negotiations with the Vancouver Public Facilities District for the project, three months after pulling the plug on a proposed 6,500-seat special events center that was part of the plans. The group, led by led by Jerry Jenkins, is now expected to compete for the hotel and convention center opportunity by filing a financial proposal with the Vancouver Public Facilities District prior to the Oct. 2 deadline.

Also in flux is the location of what remains of the would-be public-private endeavor. A location adjacent to Esther Short Park has had the most support for the planned 174-room hotel and 28,000-sf convention center, but the Port of Vancouver is now looking into the possibility of having the facilities built on its property on the Columbia River where the Red Lion Inn at the Quay now sits.

Indeed, the Port Commission authorized three work contracts recently that should help it decide. Group McKenzie is being paid up to $44,105 for a site survey and preliminary site design, among other things. Another firm is receiving as much as $25,587 for zoning research, airspace analysis, a utilities review and topography maps. Finally, Parametrix will get up to $16,737 to determine existing site capacity, Downtown parking capacity and how they relate to the MAX Light-Rail Study and the I-5 Corridor Plan.

If only the Renaissance and Port proposals are submitted to the Public Facilities District, West Coast Hotels should benefit regardless. The owner of the Red Lion chain not only holds the lease to the Inn at the Quay, but it is also has been working with Jenkins should his project come to fruition. “We have been supportive of Jenkins and still support him in trying to bring the project to fruition (on the other property),” one West Coast official told recently. “We have liked Vancouver for a number of years and think it’s got room for growth, but we do have Inn at the Quay to look at and we obviously want the best return on that asset as possible.”

In June, citing escalating construction costs and the decline in travel and tourism since the Sept.11 attack, Jenkins announced he was pulling the plug on the 6,500-seat sports/special events arena that also was to be built alongside the hotel and convention center adjacent Esther Short Park. It’s now possible that project, too, could eventually end up at the Quay property.

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