VANCOUVER-The City of Vancouver is getting prepared for the 2010 expansion of its new Convention Center six months ahead of the building’s initial completion. The seven-floor, 226-room Hilton hotel and convention center are scheduled for completion by next June. The $71.2-million project includes a underground parking for 160, a restaurant with outdoor seating and an indoor pool.The convention center will have 21,500 sf of meeting space when it opens. The expansion land would allow for a 60% jump in meeting space to 35,000 sf. By contrast, the Oregon Convention Center, located about 15 miles away near Downtown Portland, has more than 800,000 sf of meeting and exhibition space.The expansion land for Vancouver Convention Center is the current home of the Webber Building, which holds a 10,625-sf office building located o the south side of the convention center at 400 Columbia St. The council approved spending approximately $1.6 million from the general fund to buy the building, which has been leased back to the seller, Kramer Gehlen & Associates, a structural engineering firm, for five years. The base lease rate is $7,026 per month, or about $9 per sf per year.The Webber Building was built in 1909 and expanded in 1920. Kramer Gehlen acquired the building in 1983 after the building’s original occupant, Webber Machine Works, went out of business. Kramer Gehlen renovated and further expanded the building the following year.

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