New Petaluma hotel breaks ground

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A new hotel is rising in southwest Petaluma, the first construction project in the 35-acre Riverfront mixed-use development next to the Highway 101 bridge over the Petaluma River.

Workers recently broke ground on the four-story 122-room Courtyard Marriott. The hotel should be complete in about a year, according to Jordan Scott, president of Glacier House, which is building the project.

“Our opening date target is mid-September 2020,” Scott said.

Plans for the hotel also include an outdoor swimming pool and spa, around 200 parking spaces and additional bicycle parking. The Marriott will also feature a bistro and bar, an outdoor dining area, meeting rooms, and a fitness center.

Scott said the hotel will be built with prefabricated modular rooms. Workers in Idaho will assemble the rooms and ship them to Petaluma in containers, where they will be stacked like building blocks, Scott said.

This construction technique, which is gaining popularity, saves money on labor, which is already in short supply locally as construction crews rebuild from the North Bay fires, he said.

The Marriott is the latest hotel to take shape in Petaluma, which has steadily added guest rooms in the last four years. The Hotel Petaluma reopened for tourists in 2015, and a Hampton Inn opened in the historic Silk Mill building in 2018.

A 140-room Home 2 Suites by Hilton was approved in the Redwood Technology Center, and another boutique hotel, The Petaluman, has been proposed for a vacant downtown lot at B Street and Petaluma Boulevard.

Despite the recent hotel developments, Scott said he expects the new Marriott to have a high occupancy rate.

“We are excited to bring a Marriott hotel to Petaluma as we feel it will be a great success to accommodate both the business clientele during the weekdays and leisure during the weekends,” he said. “Petaluma is such a quaint town with much to offer for both categories.”

Besides the hotel, other aspects of the Riverfront development are poised to take shape in the coming months, adding new residential units to one of the largest undeveloped pieces of land within the city limits.

All told, the development will have 134 single-family homes, 39 townhouses, 100 apartments, 60,000 square feet of office space, 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a public boathouse along the river and 7.5 acres of open space, according to Emmanuel Ursu, a city planner.

Basin Street Properties, which has several Petaluma properties in its portfolio including the Theater District, is nearly finished laying the infrastructure for the development. Comstock Homes was originally going to build the houses, but backed out and sold the project to San Ramon-based Tri Pointe Homes.

Trece Herder, vice president of land acquisition for Tri Pointe, said the company hopes to be under construction at the beginning of next year, with new homeowners moving in at the end of 2020.

The homes will be three, four and five bedrooms between 1,700 and 2,800 square feet, she said, adding that it was too early talk pricing. Herder said she expects the homes will be in high demand with commuters, especially given their proximity to the freeway and the SMART station.

“It’s a solid market,” she said. “We love Petaluma. Sonoma County has a limited supply of new housing. This has proximity to the SMART train. It’s a great commute corridor.”

Ursu said building permits have been issued for the first 19 homes, although the master plan for the whole project was approved in 2014. Once 40 homes have been completed, the builder is required to install a park with a sports field and a playground, Ursu said. After 80 homes have been built, an open space along the riverfront will be developed.

Basin Street still has the townhouse, apartment and commercial and office space portions of the project, which it could sell to another builder, said Frank Marinello, vice president of development for Basin Street.

“We’re still evaluating how to move forward,” he said. “We probably won’t build the townhouses ourselves. The office space is likely to be a Basin Street project.”

(Contact Matt Brown at matt.brown@arguscourier.com.)

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