The boutique-style wine country hotel planned for downtown Livermore is coming to fruition with the city's recent approval of revised site plans proposed by Davis-based hoteliers Presidio Companies.
According to city staff, the four-story, 133-room hotel to be developed on the southeast corner of Railroad and South Livermore avenues "will complete development of the Livermore Valley Center and set the stage for increasing the value and attraction of nearby properties that will stimulate further investment in downtown Livermore."
At its June 13 regular meeting, the City Council unanimously approved revised plans for the previously approved project which include, the removal of an underground parking garage and the addition of on-site parking including surface parking with public ADA accessible stalls and valet parking, a new access road, new street frontage improvements, stormwater treatments and landscaping. Off-site parking is also made available in the updated plans.
"I'm just delighted that we're able to finally do this," Councilmember Trish Munro said before the council took its vote. She added that she appreciates the hotelier sticking with the city and the project through several years of delay. "I really look forward to seeing this done and my only complaint -- if there is one -- is that it's not starting tomorrow," she said.
Vice Mayor Gina Bonanno emphasized the hotel's significance in supporting the wine country.
"It's one element of what's going to keep our wine country viable, and I think it's too bad that it's so late but let's keep pressing ahead as hard and as fast as we can," she said.
In January, the council approved an amended and restated disposition, development and loan agreement with Presidio Companies which established the terms of the sale of the city-owned project site to the developer at the price of $71,521 as well as terms for a $1,923,750 loan to acquire an approximately 0.77-acre property at 2080 Railroad Ave., which was formerly occupied by Valley Pool Center, to develop an off-site parking facility.
At the time, city staff said that increased construction costs over the course of the project delay -- due to citizen-submitted referendum petitions and the COVID-19 pandemic -- led to the determination that the originally planned underground parking garage was no longer feasible.
The revised site plans received a stamp of approval from the Planning Commission before reaching the City Council on June 13. According to the agenda report, both city staff and the commission found that "the proposed hotel conforms to all applicable Specific Plan standards and is consistent with the Downtown Plan approved by City Council in 2018."
While the project has received support from a number of stakeholders including residents, downtown business owners, winegrowers and nonprofit leaders, some people continue to express concern about the valet parking facility, citing traffic congestion and inconveniencing hotel guests as potential consequences.
"We have had a fair number of questions about the valet parking and I guess my conclusion is that the people who are questioning the valet parking are never going to stay in this hotel," Councilmember Bob Carling said following public comment.
He added, "I'm not sure that that's an important point of view other than they don't think valet will work but the hotelier does think it's going to work. I have never built a hotel, so I'm not sure what works and what doesn't. But I'm confident Presidio knows what they're doing and that valet parking will, in fact, work."
In addition to the various parking options, the hotel plans include an approximately 3,300 square foot bar/lounge, a 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot meeting space, rooftop deck, fitness center, outdoor pool and an open courtyard and patio.
Construction on the hotel is set to begin no later than May 2024 and the hotel opening would be no later than December 2025, according to city staff's current timeline.