By Opportunity Zone Magazine Staff 

A gleaming new glass-and-steel addition is coming to the Vancouver waterfront: the 150-room AC Hotel by Marriott, Vancouver’s first major Opportunity Zone project, is poised to begin construction ahead of a planned opening in early 2021.

The landmark seven-story development, which will rise above the Columbia River to greet drivers crossing from Oregon, has been in the works since 2016 — but ground stabilization issues delayed the project, and when the Opportunity Zone program was launched, the developer, Vesta Hospitality, moved quickly to take advantage.

Access to OZ capital is helping ensure the project moves ahead as planned, using long-lasting materials, says Vesta president and CEO Rick Takach.

“I got fortunate,” he says. “If the Opportunity Zones hadn’t come around, I’m not so sure I’d have been able to finance the hotel the way I wanted to.”

Takach plans to raise $17.4 million of the project’s $50 million cost through two dedicated opportunity funds, including one through which he’s paying in $2.8 million to cover pre-development costs. Two major investors are ready to put in $5 million apiece towards the end of the year, and around 15 or 20 other investors will likely put in smaller amounts in the region of $150,000 to $250,000, Takach says.

“We’ve had a lot of interest,” Takach says. “Based on our verbal commitments, we’ll have no problem raising the money we need.”

Vesta is working to finalize permitting, but expects to begin ground stabilization work in July, and to start full construction in November.

Takach, a longtime Vancouver resident, hopes the hotel’s progress will spur interest in Clark County’s seven Opportunity Zones, and draw new investment to the region.

“People are really looking hard at the Opportunity Zones, and trying to spur development in those areas,” Takach says. “I think it’s going to have a hugely positive impact on our community.”

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