The new owners of The Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center in Bend are planning a multimillion-dollar remodel designed to update the 40-year-old hotel.

“There’s probably very little of the property that we’re not going to touch,” said Rick Takach, president and CEO of Vesta Hospitality, the Washington-based firm that purchased the hotel on NE Third Street in March from the Purcell family.

The proposed remodel, which Takach said would cost more than $8 million, includes major changes to the dining area and rooms, as well as a $130,000 audio-visual systems upgrade to the convention center. Takach said the convention center would likely stay structurally the same.

“The convention center is, I think, one of the finest convention centers I’ve seen,” Takach said. “I think it needs very little other than updating.”

Other changes will be more wholesale, however. Takach said the building that houses Crossings Restaurant and Pub will be entirely altered. The current plan calls for moving the front desk of the hotel into the Crossings building, while remodeling the interior dining space with a more open floor plan and a central bar. Takach added that the hotel hopes to add a fire pit and a portable chef station to the outdoor patio area to better utilize the building’s proximity to the Deschutes River.

“If we’re fortunate enough to succeed in what we’re trying to create, people are going to say ‘hey, I just want to go over there and sit down for a while and have a cocktail or an appetizer,’” Takach said.

The guest rooms will be changing as well, as the hotel tries to manage its mix of business travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. Takach said the rooms will feature tile flooring and an additional changing area to better accommodate guests coming in from skiing or biking, while improving the workspaces and Internet connections for working professionals.

“We’re trying to design for a pretty diverse group,” Takach said.

General Manager Rocky Adrianson added that the hotel will see a “significant investment” in staffing to help operate its improved technology systems.

“Really, one of the important aspects of the hotel business is that everything is integrated, and not segregated,” Adrianson said.

For Takach and Vesta Hospitality, which owns 13 properties across the United States, it’s an opportunity to put their own stamp on the new property. Takach said the company was drawn to the hotel, and called it an “irreplaceable gem.”

“Whenever I talk about the Riverhouse, either here or outside the community, there’s a genuine fondness for the property,” Takach said. “We just want to try to maximize that potential, because we think it’s there.”

He added that the Riverhouse was hoping to begin the construction by Nov. 1, with the intention of completing the remodel by the beginning of April 2016. The city of Bend has not looked over any of the plans yet.

Adrianson added that the hotel was not planning to close during renovations, but would be using the convention center for breakfasts while Crossings is renovated.

“Vesta has been very engaged, and we’ve had great discussions about making sure that transition follows the same thought process,” Adrianson said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7818, shamway@bendbulletin.com

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