Maui Meyer, a partner in the Celilo Restaurant & Bar, confirmed this morning that he and partners Ben Stenn and Jacqueline Carey have signed a letter of intent to help Naito Development design, develop and run the restaurant at its planned hotel and office complex overlooking for former Nichols Boat Basin.
Bob Naito and his son, Will, spoke with us Thursday about their plans for an 85-90-room Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel, adjoining office buildings, and a cable park in the boat basin.
The cable park is generating a lot of buzz. Will Naito explained that cable-powered waterboarding is a sport unique unto itself. Yes, it can be useful for kiteboarders hoping to perfect board technique.
“But it’s not just for beginners or kiteboarders,” Naito said. “Cableways were originally developed for waterskiing in the ‘60s, but now wakeboarding is the most popular sport behind the cable. In fact, cable wakeboarding has been shortlisted as a new sport for the 2020 Olympics.”
Naito says the concept may be new to the United States, but it’s already well established outside this country, with more than 200 cable parks scattered around the world.
“Some have been in operation for over 40 years,” he says. “Germany is the most popular location, with over 60 parks, but cable parks are becoming very popular in Asia and the Mediterranean.”
Naito Development will first have to get approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Hood River.
In the meantime, they expect completion of design work on the hotel and restaurant space, review by Hilton Hotels & Resorts (which owns the Hampton Inn & Suites brand) and review and approval by the city of Hood River to take about five months. That would let them start construction in the spring of 2012.
Plans call for a four-story hotel and office buildings of two or three stories. The L-shaped hotel would be designed to serve a business travel audience. It will include 1,000 to 1,500 square feet of meeting space, a fitness facility, and a swimming pool at the southwest corner. The pool will be covered, but have glass doors opening onto a sun deck.
Just northwest of the hotel, the first of two buildings will house a pro shop serving the cable park, and the restaurant.
“We like to use the term ‘gastropub,’ but we will talk with the cable park participants, and try to understand the restaurant’s interface with the hotel, and try to figure out a common ground,” Meyer says.
“We want a lot of outdoor, waterfront feeling there.
“We’re jokingly referring to it as ‘where local food meets PBR.’ Somewhere in there is something that works. It’ll be hyper-casual. Come in, have a nice time, don’t sweat the details about what you look like.”
Meyer, Stenn and Carey came together first at 6th Street Bistro, then took the idea of featuring local ingredients to the startup of Celilo in 2005.
Meyer is excited about the potential for the cable park. He says the system is low-impact visually, and operates in near silence.
“After 10 minutes, you don’t even realize it’s there — it’s so quiet, it’s just a cable going around in a circle,” he says. “For all the things that have been contemplated at the Boat Basin, this makes sense.”