Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square eyed for 144-room AC Hotel by Marriott

Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square could be getting a five-story, 144-room European-modern hotel, under a plan from a Dallas-based developer.

A 62-space parking lot bounded by Highway 101, Fourth, Fifth and Davis streets would be transformed into an AC Hotels by Marriott location, with a ground-floor restaurant and retail space, based on a proposal from Bedford Lodging.

The site, located at 210 Fifth St., is in the Railroad Square Historic Preservation District. The property also is in the Station Area Plan area, which allows for up to five stories and allows hotels by right, according to a presentation by staff planner Patrick Streeter to the city Design Review Board at an conceptual design review session in August.

That means no use permit would be required, just design review, unless having to do with parking, he said. A hotel in the area would have to provide a parking space per each 500 square feet. So the 77,000-square-foot project would have to provide 156 parking spaces. The proposal includes 26 tandem spaces.

Streeter noted in August that the Railroad Square Association had expressed concern about loss of parking.

The board is set to consider the project at a public hearing Feb. 21. Bedford would like to get the project under construction this fall, according to its website.

Discussions with the Railroad Square Association about livening Davis Street in the area has led to further localizing of the restaurant and meeting-room design to make them more local-serving spaces, Jeff Blackman, principal of Bedford, told the board in August.

“The Santa Rosa occupancy market in the lodging space is very healthy,” Blackman told the board. “The occupancies are about 10 to 12 percent higher than what we see in the industry across the country. What helps that is what you have going on here in Santa Rosa, which is an active economic environment during the week and an active weekend business with leisure.”

The planned mix of rooms includes single king-sized beds and with double queen-sized beds to appeal to weekday corporate travelers and weekend tourists, he said.

The AC Hotels by Marriott brand was launched in 2011 as a joint venture between Madrid-based AC Hotels and Marriott, the world’s largest hotelier. AC Hotels was founded in 1998 by Antonio Catalan and by the time of the agreement had a portfolio of 90 hotels in ownership, leasing or management in Spain, Italy and Portugal.

There were 93 AC Hotels by Marriott locations open as of the end of the company’s third quarter, ended Sept. 30, Marriott reported. Marriott plans to franchise the brand across the U.S. and has about 100 locations in the pipeline, according to Blackman. That includes a seven-story location that opened in San Jose in October.Bedford has six hotels open or under development in Texas, Colorado and Arizona. Santa Rosa-based Jean Kapolchok & Associate is handling entitlements. BAR Architects of San Francisco designed the project.

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