The Railroad Square area of downtown Santa Rosa 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.
“AC Hotels by Marriott is designed to attract the next generation design-conscious business traveler in the upper-moderate tier, who seeks a sleek, modern hotel with unique European touches,” Marriott said in its annual report.
These hotels “are located in destination, downtown and lifestyle centers,” the Bethesda, Md.-based company said. A key feature “AC Lounge,” offering cocktails, tapas-inspired appetizers and shareable plates, “where guests can work and collaborate during the day and relax and unwind in the evening,” the company said. There also is a small meeting room of about 700 square feet in the typical AC location.
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 is rooms with single king-sized beds and with double queen-sized beds to appeal to weekday corporate travelers and weekend tourists, he said.
AC Hotels has teamed up with the Startup Grind nationwide group of entrepreneurship boosters, giving members benefits such as deals on space and drinks at the AC Lounge. But Startup Grind Sonoma chapter coordinator and career coach Jay Rooke said he’s not aware of such an arrangement in the the works for Santa Rosa.
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.