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Hotel Petaluma sold again City’s iconic downtown building to be revamped

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Big changes are once again on the way for the Hotel Petaluma after the 92-year-old downtown building with the steam-fueled radiators, traction elevator and architecture from the days of the Coolidge administration, was sold to investors that promise to restore the historic lobby and renovate the rooms.

“We’ve had a good run as the owners, but we are selling to a nice group of people who will build on the work we’ve done,” said Terry Andrews, who has owned the Petaluma Hotel with his family since 2012.

Andrews said the sale would be final next week, and the new owners would take over early next month. He did not reveal the sale price of the hotel.

The new owners are Dipak Patel and Satish Patel of San Francisco, who have 40 years of experience operating Bay Area hotels. Hospitality marketing firm OptiRev, LLC, will promote the new property, which will include a lobby bar, new retail space and renovated rooms, said Holly Michalek-Byck, CEO of OptiRev. The new owners are hiring 30 employees. A job fair will happen at the Paradise Ridge Winery, starting at 9 a.m. on March 24.

Andrews said that his family transformed the hotel from a single room occupancy complex to a lodging option for tourists visiting Petaluma.

“It’s gonna be gorgeous,” said Maria Castro-Asbell, managing desk clerk. “The new owners plan to relocate the main entrance and lobby back on Kentucky Street, where it was originally located. I’ve seen the plans and they are trying to bring back the Moroccan-Mediterranean feel of the place.”

The hotel for years operated as a single room occupancy residence, which attracted low-income renters. Andrews said the area around the hotel was not safe when they bought it. But Castro-Asbell said that Andrews did away with that when he took ownership of the hotel.

“We were 100 percent single stay, residential in 2012, but that got turned around by the current owners,” he said. “There are still some people who use the hotel for long-term stays, but they are employed, and we now have a very strict criteria regarding who can stay. We had some traveling nurses from Arkansas not too long ago. They were here for a few months to work with Petaluma Valley Hospital.”

Castro-Asbell said many of the guests in recent years have been from Europe, who travel to Petaluma for what she referred to as the “downtown’s renaissance.”

Hotel Petaluma had been the home to Petaluma Taps restaurant, which relocated in January 2014 to a property overlooking the Petaluma River.

“This building takes up an entire city block and we have many businesses connected to us,” said Castro-Asbell. “We had a corner café that was here briefly. But the changes that have happened here in the last two years, and the changes that the new owners will bring, will be beautiful. It will bring the hotel back to the way it used to be and be a welcome addition to all the good things happening in Petaluma.”

(Contact E. A. Barrera at argus@arguscourier.com).

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