Thwarted in the their attempt to demolish the Fairmont Hotel's mid-century tower and replace it with a new condominium tower, partners in the Nob Hill icon have sold it for $200,000,000, or around $340,000 per room. And that doesn't include room service. Fairmont will stay on as operator. The motley- but ultimately successful posse of opponents to the project had the usual concerns. With the elimination of half the hotel rooms, jobs became an issue and opposition from the powerful hotel workers union dealt the final blow and trumped any support from the construction trades, along with predictable complaints over construction dust and asbestos from neighbors, fans of irony and tropical drinks at the Tonga Room, and basically everyone else in town.
The Historic Preservation Commission reviewed the project- predictably, one commissioner called for the elimination of the tower altogether and restoration of the gardens. While the new plans called for a laudable but tepid attempt to renew the California and Powell Street frontage with some kind of glassy streetscape, it was ultimately just too wrong for everyone. In addition to two years of construction chaos, neighboring owners were no doubt just as nervous about competition- at a time when nothing was selling- from a shiny new building with far better amenities. Check out the galley above for a look back at what might have been plus some vintage shots.
· San Francisco Hotel to be Sold For 200 Million [Bloomberg]
· Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar [Fairmont SF]
· Fairmont Hotel Coverage [Curbed SF Archives]