By Alex Girda, Associate Editor
Wolff Urban Development L.L.C. is widening its footprint in San Jose through the acquisition of a third high-profile hotel. The privately held investment firm, which is controlled by Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff, acquired the l71-key Sainte Claire, for an estimated $17 million, according to local news sources. The Wolff group bought the recently renovated property from Larkspur Hotels and Restaurants, which is based in nearby Marin County, MercuryNews.com and other media sources reported. For its part, Larkspur was a busy seller in the Bay Area during the last month of 2011, the Contra Costa Times reported. MetWest Terra Hospitality bought Larkspur’s 115-key Toll House in Los Gatos along with The Lodge at Tiburon, a 102-key property in Marin County.
Elsewhere in San Jose, Wolff owns the 541-key Fairmont and the 355-key Hilton and Towers. The latest acquisition comes after a banner year for the region’s hotel industry. Smith Travel Research estimates that revenue per available room jumped 11 percent year-over-year through November 2011, the Contra Costa Times reported.
Wolff’s marketing strategy for the Sainte Claire includes rebranding the 86-year-old hotel as a Westin, company president Keith Wolff told the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. That will make the property only the second in the Silicon Valley to fly the Westin flag, Wolff is eyeing Downtown San Jose as a potential site for a new baseball park, although he told the Contra Costa Times that the Sainte Claire acquisition is unrelated to his interest in relocating the Oakland A’s in the city.
With the addition of the Sainte Claire, Wolff Urban Development now owns 27 hotels in the United States, including high-profile hotels like the Fairmont San Francisco and the Carlyle in Manhattan. The company’s hotel portfolio also includes properties in Sydney, Toronto and the Caribbean.