Luxury, green hotel planned near Plaza
THIS IS AN ARTIST rendering of what the front of Chateau Sonoma will look like.
Drawing courtesy Keith Wicks
Darius and Sarah Anderson have announced plans for a green, luxury, boutique hotel on West Napa Street half a block from the Sonoma Plaza.
The Andersons, owners of Chateau Sonoma French Antiques and Ramekins in Sonoma, are working with local architect Michael B. Ross, AIA, of RossDrulisCusenbery, Architecture Inc., and local artist Keith Wicks, on plans for a $30-million, 50-room, sustainably designed facility on property that currently includes Chateau Sonoma French Antiques and the former production and warehouse buildings of The Sonoma Index-Tribune.
The property is located at the rear of 117 and 135 W. Napa St., a half block west of the Plaza. While plans are still in the early stages, the hotel, to be called Chateau Sonoma, will be inspired by both French and Sonoma country styles, with the registration and reception area located where the antique store is now.
Bill Lynch, editor-in-chief and publisher of The Sonoma Index-Tribune and Jim Lynch, the company's CFO and co-publisher, have a financial interest in the Chateau Sonoma project. They have accepted a tentative offer of approximately $2.3 million on the sale of portions of the downtown Sonoma property they own behind the Index-Tribune and Lynch Building to the Andersons for the hotel site.
The new hotel will include the antique store, valet parking service, a lap pool, a meeting/event center and restaurant on the third floor. The Andersons are partnering with award-winning Sonoma restaurateur Saul Gropman, owner of Café La Haye, to operate Chateau Sonoma's restaurant. Gropman will continue operating Café La Haye and create a different style cuisine for the hotel's restaurant.
"We are extremely excited about working with the community on this project," said Anderson. "Chateau Sonoma will be a world class destination and enhance the Sonoma experience of food, wine and other exciting tourist attractions the town has to offer."
All of the rooms and parking will be located in a three-story structure to be built behind the Index-Tribune and Lynch Building. The hotel rooms will be on the second and third floors, while all of the completely covered parking will be on the first floor. Utilizing information from a traffic study to minimize traffic impacts, the hotel is being designed to be pedestrian-friendly, allowing easy walking and biking access to Sonoma's historic downtown. Ross noted that guests would not need to use their cars once they arrive and will be offered bicycles and walking tours to enhance their Sonoma experience.
The Andersons, along with Ross and Wicks, and environmental consultants J. Crowley Group, of Sacramento, plan to use cutting-edge green building technology, including a rainwater capture, storage and recycling system for landscape irrigation, vegetated roofs for storm water retention and filtration, ample use of natural light and high energy efficiency building systems. These and other sustainable design approaches will count towards the goal of receiving a LEED Silver certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the United States Green Building Council, which established and determines the certification system.
The hotel is projected to employ approximately 80 people and generate $3.6 million in tax revenue for the City of Sonoma over its first five years ($2.5 million in transient occupancy tax plus $1.1 million in sales tax).
Access to the site would be off West Napa Street and First Street West, and the former Index-Tribune production (press room) building and warehouse would be torn down. The Lynches will retain ownership of the three-story, mixed-use Lynch Building at 135 W. Napa St., and the Index-Tribune office building at 117 W. Napa St.
"We are so happy to be part of and eventual neighbors to this beautiful project," said Bill Lynch this week.
"Darius and Sarah did a wonderful job in their makeover of Ramekins, and the drafts we've seen for Chateau Sonoma, as created by Michael Ross, and the artistic elements by Keith Wicks, are stunning. Chateau Sonoma will be a great addition to Sonoma," Lynch added.