‘Black Pearl’ could soon become event center

Owner hopes to open long-vacant Washougal waterfront building in June of 2018

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The "Black Pearl" building could be utilized as an event center, if approved by the City of Washougal.

The owner of the long-vacant “Black Pearl” building on the Washougal waterfront says she has plans to open an event center for weddings, board meetings, corporate retreats and other occasions.

Kimberly Sherertz said the 12,000-square-foot concrete, steel and glass building overlooking the Port of Camas-Washougal marina, could also be the site of art auctions, high school graduation parties, Oktoberfest celebrations and private fundraisers.

The two-story structure, located at 56 S. “A” St., in Washougal, has been vacant since its construction six years ago. It was originally built to accommodate an upscale restaurant named Black Pearl on the Columbia, with a bar, banquet and meeting rooms, patio dining and a 5,000-bottle wine cellar with rentable lockers.

The restaurant had been expected to open in the spring of 2011, but Sherertz’s husband, Bill, the managing member of Black Pearl on the Columbia LLC, died in January of 2011, at the age of 64. Sherertz said later that year it was her husband’s wish to open the restaurant, but she was not as passionate about the restaurant business as her husband had been. Sherertz hopes to have the building finished and ready for events and special occasions in June of 2018.

“It has weathered really well,” she said during a recent tour of the building.

There are cobwebs, but the concrete and steel structure is “here to stay,” Sherertz added.

The finished look of the “Black Pearl” will be industrial with exposed ceiling beams, sheet-rocked walls and stained concrete floors.

In addition to an elevator, the building has a fireplace for ambiance.

“Bill wanted the building to be a place where people could linger and enjoy good food and good wine,” Sherertz said. “It has a great view and a great location.”

There are views of Mount Hood and the Port’s Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail, from inside the Black Pearl building.

“What the Port has done is phenomenal,” Sherertz said, regarding the nearby park and trail.

Bathrooms will be added to the Black Pearl building, and paving and landscaping are needed outside.

Joseph Layman, the building official/manager for the city of Washougal, said permits and plans pertaining to interior configuration, exits and fire protection systems, would be required for the unfinished portion of the building.

No active building permit applications have yet been submitted to the city.

“Community development staff is very excited about the final determination of this project, including an event center, and (we) look forward to working with the owner and their construction team once officially determined,” Layman said.

The "Black Pearl" building, which overlooks the Port of Camas-Washougal marina,  could become an event center.
The "Black Pearl" building, which overlooks the Port of Camas-Washougal marina, could become an event center. Photo