A Southern California real estate company that focuses on the development and management of hotel properties is buying Sacramento's Le Rivage Hotel and will convert it to a Westin property.
Michael Schaefer, senior vice president of operations for Brighton Management LLC, based in Diamond Bar, said "the money has been sent and the deal will finalize" today at noon, "and Le Rivage will have new ownership."
Schaefer also said that Westin has already approved the franchise application to convert Le Rivage to a Westin hotel.
It will be Sacramento's first Westin.
"The plan is to fully convert it to a Westin (including signage and other on-site conversions) by March 1, 2013," Schaefer said.
He said the hotel's spa will remain, along with Scott's Seafood on the River restaurant. He said the new ownership plans to "talk to the city" about possible future development of the marina/dock area along the riverfront.
The 101-room boutique hotel on Riverside Boulevard along the Sacramento River has a tortured ownership history. It is being purchased for a reported $16 million.
In February, Sacramento developer Robert Cook, managing partner of the original ownership group, put Le Rivage into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to prevent foreclosure on its $30 million debt to OneWest Bank in Pasadena. In May, however, the lender took back the property in a trustee sale.
Calling itself a "first-class hotel with an Italian and French Riviera" theme, Le Rivage opened in January 2008. That timing on the eve of the recession proved fateful.
The hotel struggled as hard times hit the region's hospitality industry and businesses cut back on travel.
Le Rivage's remote location in the Little Pocket neighborhood on the Sacramento River and its heavy debt load also contributed to its difficulties, hotel industry experts said.
In February, Tom Callahan of PKF Consulting USA in San Francisco said: "It's not in a great location for a hotel and it was an expensive hotel to build."
Mike Testa, senior vice president of convention sales for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Wednesday that "we have a lot of great hotel talent here in Sacramento, but unfortunately, the Le Rivage name was not one that would come up as a recognizable brand in most searches.
"When you plug the Westin brand into that, that's different. Having hotel inventory with a name like Westin is a great thing for Sacramento."
There are 17 Westin hotels in California, including two in San Francisco.