As if we had any doubts about the power of progressive politics and labor unions in an election year, this past April San Francisco's Local 2 voted against plans to demolish the Fairmont Hotel's mid-century tower and replace it with condominiums. And now, the hotel's for sale. The half owned by Lew Wolff and Philip Maritz- the other half is owned by Saudi royal billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. No mention of price. The local duo threw in the towel when faced with union opposition to a loss of hotel jobs, plus some predictable local unhappiness about construction dust and noise. Plus everyone thought it was ugly.
Frankly, we don't see why the hotel union just doesn't start leasing hotel properties as an operator- the standard business model- and see how they like the margins. You may recall that Local 2's opposition to condominium conversions dates back to the heady days of 2005 when hotel owners all around were drooling over the thought of condos instead of pesky tourists and conventioneers-gone-wild. Above, a gallery of what might have been.
· San Francisco Fairmont Put Up For Sale [SF Business Times]
· Union Nixes Fairmont Hotels Hope For Condos [Curbed SF]
· Hotel workers? 18-month halt to any conversions SF Gate]