Home Hotel guest Prioritize accommodation, not the hotel, on the Truck & Auto website

Prioritize accommodation, not the hotel, on the Truck & Auto website


It was good news that the old Sonoma Truck & Auto car dealership on Broadway has a new owner who plans to clean up the long-neglected horror. Quite frankly, the City has let this mess go unchecked for far too long, when it could have demanded that the former landowner give it a facelift.

As direct neighbors of MacArthur Street, new owner MacArthur Place has plenty of incentives to spruce up the property. They want their guests to see something up to “wine country standards” when they leave Broadway – it’s obvious.

What is less obvious is what will happen to the 1.86 acre site. In August, MacArthur Place sought approval from the Planning Commission to add 11 rooms to its collection of 64 rooms. After the hotel representative requested a waiver of the City’s mandate which suggests that 50% of the area of ​​the proposed 6,400-square-foot building be converted into housing, the Planning Commission requested $ 1.1 million. dollars for the City Housing Trust Fund, $ 100,000 for each new hotel room.

The commission was right to ask for something – despite four major construction projects, in 1997, 1998, 2018 and 2020, the hotel never added to the local building stock, nor paid any kind of in-lieu fees. (It should be noted that in 2018 and 2020, the City did not recommend any housing or costs component in its staff reports, a disappointing missed opportunity because at that time the hotel was in the hands of investors with deep pockets. The city has also never established a housing waiver fee formula.) Although built by longtime Sonoma resident and restaurant expert Suzanne Brangham, the hotel was sold in 2017 to the IMH financial group based in Arizona. But after filing for bankruptcy in 2020, IMH became a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase and Co. called Lat33 Capital. As many hotels have suffered from the pandemic, JPMorgan reported revenue of $ 119.5 billion in 2020, the same year it increased fees on the investment banking business by 25%, according to Fortune.

Here in Sonoma, it appears their hotel investment is doing extremely well. In August, Chad Parson, CEO of Lat33 Capital, said: “The past few months have been some of the best in MacArthur Place’s 20-year history, with record average daily rates and record occupancy rates of over 80%. %. On Monday, the luxury hotel rooms were $ 439 on weeknights or $ 709 on weekends, while their most upscale room, the “Chef’s Cottage,” goes from $ 859 to $ 1,579.

Meanwhile, the $ 1.1 million fee requested by the Planning Commission is unlikely to build even one home, if developers decide to pay them, which remains unclear. But with their recent purchase of the Truck & Auto site, the City has another bite to the housing apple. Unlike its current 5 acres, this new property cannot be described by developers as “not compatible” with housing. The site is a blank slate, ready for a new idea.

Hotel rooms, spa services, or restaurants could definitely be part of the equation, especially if they serve residents, not just hotel guests. But if the City is serious about increasing the permanent housing stock, this is a great opportunity to keep MacArthur Place at the 50% housing standard it set in 2019. Any claim that this would make the project “financially unfeasible” is hogwash for a company as rich in resources as this one.

If it’s not here, then where? If not now, then when?

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