By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor Published: May 17, 2016

Vesta Hospitality owns or manages hotels throughout the West, but it has only one in its own backyard of Vancouver.

That will change within the next couple of years with the Port of Vancouver’s selection of the little-known company to develop, own and operate a new hotel at the port’s Terminal 1, just west of the former Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay. The hotel will be an AC Hotel by Marriott, a growing brand that is only now moving into the Portland region.

“We’re really excited. I think its going to be a fantastic project,” said Rick Takach, Vesta’s president and CEO.

The port announced last week that it had selected Vesta for the project, which is a key element of its Terminal 1 redevelopment. The port also chose another Vancouver company, Holland Partner Group, as the master developer of a mixed office, residential and retail project at the prized waterfront site. Even with those announcements, the port needs to work out specifics and win approval from its three-member commission.

Takach said he’s working with port officials on a lease agreement that will spell out financial and infrastructure details.

Construction likely is “a couple of years out,” Takach said. “If everybody thinks we can move faster, I’m ready to go.”

He expects to make an investment of $25 million to $30 million.

The hotel is expected to offer around 130 rooms, although the number of floors has not been determined due to questions over height restrictions. It will contain extra meeting room space to capitalize on the hotel’s proximity to the convention center at the Hilton Hotel.

The AC Hotels brand is small but growing, with new hotels planned for Seattle, Portland, and San Jose, Calif.

“It has kind of a European flair,” Takach said. The brand “is considered upscale, but not upper-upscale.”

Rooms will rent for $150 to $160 a night, he estimates. That would put the hotel at the upper end of room rental rates in Vancouver. But other hotels are likely to move into that rate ballpark by the time the AC Hotel is ready to open, he said.

Vesta’s only Vancouver hotel is the Homewood Suites by Hilton on Columbia Shores Boulevard. Hilton has a presence with its hotel in downtown Vancouver, and Takach said he looked to Marriott to tap into a market of customers who take advantage of that chain’s “loyalty” programs.

The Marriott AC isn’t likely to be the only new hotel on the Columbia River. Developers of the much larger Vancouver Waterfront LLC project to the west of Terminal 1 have talked for a long time about bringing a hotel to their project, but so far they’ve failed to secure a deal.

Barry Cain, president of Gramor Development, the Oregon-based company leading the waterfront development, said by email that he’s pleased that the port has secured a new hotel as an upgrade to the former Red Lion. Without offering details, he hinted again that his firm is continuing to pursue a hotel for its waterfront site.

“There is more than enough room for two or even three hotels on at the Vancouver Waterfront,” Cain wrote. “That will be obvious in the near future.”