Cornerstone Sonoma, Ramekins, General’s Daughter to be sold
Kenwood Investments, the real estate development company founded and led by Darius Anderson, announced on Monday the planned sale of Ramekins culinary center and catering business, the General’s Daughter event venue and Cornerstone Sonoma marketplace.
The buyer is LeFever Mattson, a North Bay property management and investment company co-owned by Ken Mattson and Tim LeFever.
The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Mattson told the Index-Tribune on Monday that he expects the deal to close escrow on Thursday.
Kenwood Investments bought the Ramekins culinary school, events and inn in 2009; the General’s Daughter corporate event and wedding venue in 2012; and Cornerstone Sonoma in 2014.
Bill Hooper, president of Kenwood Investments, said that the company was in the process of adding a major catering company to its retail and hospitality operations when an “unsolicited” offer came in from LeFever Mattson. The transaction was announced on Monday, and Mattson said that the deal will include that catering company, as well.
Hooper said that over the past decade Kenwood Investments has invested in facility improvements and sales and marketing support to grow the event business at Ramekins “tenfold” and to increase the tenant occupancy rate at Cornerstone to 90 percent.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with these properties,” he said, but added that it was time to move on. “Managing these kind of event and staff-intensive businesses is really time-consuming,” he said. “This was a good offer and this is a good time for us to turn our attention to other projects,” he said, citing in particularly Kenwood Investment’s new hotel in San Francisco that is slated to begin construction next year. Hooper also serves as chief operating officer, and Anderson as managing partner, for Sonoma Media Investments, which owns the Index-Tribune.
“It has been a fabulous ride over the last decade,” said Anderson in a press release announcing the transaction. “I am proud of our team and pleased to turn these premier assets over to LeFever Mattson, which will continue to nurture them and work with the people who made them so successful.”
Mattson told the Index-Tribune that his company specializes in identifying underutilized assets.
“We look for properties where some marginal adjustments can result in further growth,” he said. “These are four complementary businesses, some of which were at capacity and some of which have excess capacity. We think more upside potential exists here.”
Mattson said that he plans no changes to the properties at this time and that he expects all of the 250 employees of Cornerstone, Ramekins and the General’s Daughter to stay on.
Anderson’s Tyge William Cellars is expected to remain a tenant of Cornerstone Sonoma. A decision has not yet been made about Kenwood Investment’s plans to open the Jack London Taproom on the site of a vacant tasting room on the property.
Mattson, on his own, has purchased a dozen commercial and residential properties around Sonoma over the past three years including Sonoma’s Best deli, Boyes Food Market, Lanning Structures (site of a future “container village”), the former Cocoa Planet property on Broadway, as well as several residential properties. This is the first Sonoma real estate transaction for LeFever Mattson.
Ken Mattson grew up in Vacaville and now lives in Piedmont, where he has made similar investments in the community.
“I buy but I don’t sell,” he said. “I like fixing up projects so that they long outlive me. This is more of a lifestyle than a job for me.”
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