Business & Real Estate

Sacramento’s Citizen Hotel could change hands

Cal West Partners has reached agreement to sell the downtown Citizen Hotel to Sacramento Hotel, an entity associated with a Los Angeles-based investment firm.
Cal West Partners has reached agreement to sell the downtown Citizen Hotel to Sacramento Hotel, an entity associated with a Los Angeles-based investment firm. Sacramento Bee file

A group of local developers has agreed to sell Sacramento’s downtown Citizen Hotel to Los Angeles investors, city officials said Monday.

“Today, Cal West Partners, L.P. has reached agreement to sell the Citizen Hotel to Sacramento Hotel, LLC and is requesting the City’s consent to assign the Parking Agreement to the new owner,” city planners wrote as part of an item on Tuesday’s Sacramento City Council agenda.

The parking agreement refers to the city’s approval of valet parking at the hotel.

Cal West Partners is actually Rubicon Partners, based in Roseville, which redeveloped the faded 1920s building at 10th and J streets, a former office tower, as the city’s first high-rise boutique hotel with nearly $10 million in public funds.

Rubicon’s Kipp Blewett, who generally speaks for the hotel, did not respond to a phone call and an email message Monday.

Sacramento Hotel LLC is an entity associated with Los Angeles-based investment firm Platinum Equity, which has $6 billion in assets under management worldwide, including a dozen hotels in California, Florida, Minnesota and other states.

“We don’t discuss whether we’re considering prospective acquisitions,” said Platinum spokesman Dan Whelan.

The 14-story beaux arts tower originally housed the California-Western States Life Insurance company and later became home to dozens of nonprofit groups that rented cheap cramped offices near the Capitol.

The 198-room Citizen is operated by San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre Hospitality, a company known for one-of-a-kind hotels, each designed to reflect a particular sensibility.

In the Citizen’s case, its traditional-meets-sleek decor contains references to the presence of the nearby state Capitol and to politicians past and present. The hotel sits across Cesar Chavez Park from City Hall.

There was no word Monday on whether Joie de Vivre would continue operating the hotel under the new owners.

Rubicon gutted the structure except for the marble-clad lobbies on each floor and the marble staircase that winds through the middle of the building.

“It was one of the most extensive rehab projects in downtown,” Blewett told The Sacramento Bee in 2008. The city contributed $9.9 million in redevelopment funds.

Developers also added a metal-and-glass extension to the historic building’s facade. It houses Grange Restaurant & Bar, an upscale eatery that focuses on California cuisine featuring fresh local ingredients.

The Citizen was one of several early entrants in the city’s downtown renaissance now being spurred by construction of a new downtown Sacramento Kings basketball arena.

Rubicon recently sold a five-story office and retail building at 630 K Street, adjacent to the arena site, for about $26 million.

Hudson Sangree: 916-321-1191, @hudson_sangree

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