New hotel proposed for downtown Petaluma

PETALUMA -- A four-story, 50-room boutique hotel is in the early stages of development at South Petaluma Boulevard and B Street, a project that backers said could address a lack of downtown lodging in Sonoma County's second-biggest city

The proposed hotel, which has yet to be named, would occupy an approximately 14,000 square-foot lot that formerly housed a Chevron gas station, and the hotel itself would be approximately 42,000 square feet, according to developers.

Ross Jones, the project's chief developer whose grandmother owned the lot since the 1950s, estimates the cost of the hotel, should it obtain city approval, will be about $12 million. Mr. Jones, an architect, said the plan is to "build a sophisticated, elegant, environmentally friendly hotel on a compact, high profile site."

[caption id="attachment_71669" align="alignleft" width="400"] Architectural sketch of the proposed downtown Petaluma hotel as viewed from the east on B Street. (image credit: Ross Jones)[/caption]

But Mr. Jones did say that much work remains ahead, acknowledging that the project, given its location, could be "complex and not without anticipated hurdles."

Among such hurdles includes a lack of on-site parking and environmental cleanup of the site, which is scheduled for this summer. Upon cleanup, the development team plans to proceed with designs for the hotel rooms, a projected rooftop garden, meeting rooms and a guest lounge.

"We aim to meet the intent of zoning constraints in order to fully develop a complimentary amenity for downtown's bustling shopping and restaurant district," Mr. Jones said.

Developers have already identified a possible management group, Piazza Hospitality Group, according to Dave Alden, a civil engineer and entitlement coordinator for the project. It currently owns and manages a number of North Bay properties, including Hotel Healdsburg and h2hotel, also in Healdsburg.

If and when the city approves the project, developers hope to break ground by spring 2014 and be ready for occupancy by early 2015, Mr. Alden said. Those preliminary targets could change, depending on a number of factors, he added.

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