It's been more than a year since plans dropped for a residential component to the Fairmont Hotel on top of Nob Hill. Yesterday, the draft environmental impact report for the new Fairmont Tower hit the web, complete with the rather undramatic transformation we see above. The plan is to consolidate some rooms in the main hotel building, perhaps for a net loss of "up to" 60 rooms. The hotel demographic's changed, said the company spokeswoman in January 2009, and the Fairmont's better off as a boutiquey "grand dame." To that end, the Fairmont would also be demolishing its tower-and-podium portion, built in 1961, and replacing it with — drumroll, please — a brand new tower and podium of similar appearance and scale! The new, 26-story tower would be all residential, and also have a five-story mid-rise companion. We know what you're thinking: What. About. The Tonga Room.
It was only a couple months after the Fairmont plans were announced that tiki fans noticed a threat to the (admittedly long-ago culturally expired) Tonga Room. The interest drummed up by the fact was enough to inspire mass patronage of the Tonga again — it was either suddenly cool, or just ironically cool. Either way, it's been identified as a "historical resource": the draft EIR has identified two potential ways, then, to save the Tonga. One, have it be completely "dismantled, relocated, and reinstalled" within the new podium structure, or two, have it only be partially dismantled and relocated. After which we can all continue to ignore the basement tiki bar guilt-free.
· Fairmont Tower's Condo Conversion: Whither Tonga? [Curbed SF]
· Live in the Fairmont: Condos On the Horizon [Curbed SF]