Wolff finalizes Hotel Sainte Claire purchase

As mentioned at the beginning of the month, an investor group including Lew and Keith Wolff has purchased the Hotel Sainte Claire in Downtown San Jose from Larkspur Hotels and Restaurants. The final price is reportedly under $18 million ($105,000 per room), a major discount from the market value of $34-42 million ($250-300,000 per room) for the 171 room, boutique hotel.

sainte claire hotel

Hotel Sainte Claire at night. Credit: Ed Schipul (flickr)

If, as I speculated then, the purpose of the acquisition was to redo the hotel to host visiting MLB teams, buying the place for only $18 million leaves a pretty nice budget available to turn the place into a five-star joint, if the investment group were interested in doing so. I had also heard that certain unnamed MLB executives are in the investment group, which would make it seem like baseball has a vested interest in having the hotel succeed along with a ballpark in downtown San Jose. For his part, Wolff told reporter George Avalos that the purchase has nothing to do with the A’s potentially moving south. Wolff’s group also owns the nearby Fairmont, and a few years back sold the Hilton next to the convention center.

Wolff also had a curious quote:

“Cities like San Jose and Oakland are in the path of growth,” said Wolff, a principal executive with Los Angeles-based Wolff Urban Development, in explaining some of the reasons behind the purchase. “San Jose has a fairly strong downtown.”

Interesting that Wolff is working hotel deals in San Jose, but not Oakland. Perhaps a move in Oakland is in the future?

32 thoughts on “Wolff finalizes Hotel Sainte Claire purchase

  1. talked a’s to sj on chron live blitz…

    kawakami said cynically a’s basially all going all in for sj with the way how bad the could be and how much money they lose and it’s the only way they’re gonna get it and they’re making the play now towards mlb to get to sj staying basically this is how they’re gonna run the franchise if they don’t get sj. said the last option would be mlb to buy sj.

    purdy said unfair to a’s fans, whether they move to sj or not. hard to believe the a’s made these many moves to make the point kawakami did.
    cohn said mlb isn’t rushing to make the decision. these trades shouldn’t make mlb decide anything regarding a sj move and hopes it doesn’t. a’s org should be penalized for making such trades this offseason like staying in oakland and building up a team there. during the last few secs of the show cohn said he doesn’t believe sf will allow them to move to sj but purdy interrupted just as the show went off and said it’s not for sf to make that decision, it’s basically mlb and a 3/4 vote by the owners. loved how purdy interrupted cohn who was about to relay the myth that somehow it’s sf who has the final decision and not the mlb owners as a whole.

  2. Way to go Mr. Purdy shutting down this Cohn character. It continues to amaze that despite reality, some in the media still continue to claim that the Giants/SF can block an A’s move to SJ. What’s even more sickening is that some in the media are actually championing that. “Giants homer” Tim Kawakami actually forgets he writes for the SJ Merc and not the Chron.
    By the way, awesome photo of the beautiful St Claire hotel. Will make for an awesome stay for visiting teams in the future.

  3. On topic: I believe SJ developer Barry Swenson recently decided to finance a new Marriott near SJ Airport, citing that the hospitality market was starting to pick up. Perhaps it does mean Wolff will look at investing in Oakland hospitality in the near future.

  4. Cohn is a jackass that don’t know squat.

  5. But Wolfe can’t invest in a hotel in Oakland. I’ve been by many here that he hates the city more than anything.

    The a’s payroll is now at $23 million. I do think they might be saying to MLB. Screw you for not giving us a decision yet. Oh and thanks for the $30 million revenue sharing check.

    The media acting like the Giants have control over it is annoying. Especially by the person that covers the A’s (Slusser) if we had any real journalist in the bay area, they would have called the Giants out during the interview. Instead of helping being the giants lil messenger boys.

  6. Don’t opposing teams playing the A’s stay in Frisco instead of Oakland? Do the opposing teams all hate Oakland, too?…The A’s trades is not the first time this has happened. Way back, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn used the “best interests of baseball” clause to stop Charlie Finley from trading off Joe Rudi, etc. I believe Finley at the time had surmised that Oakland couldn’t support an ML:B team.

  7. re: What’s even more sickening is that some in the media are actually championing that.
    …It;s already been noted in here that for Bay Area sports writers, economics is not their forte. They refuse to acknowledge that a privately build ballpark is doable in San Jose but not Oakland. They can’t see the difference and are too proud to learn.

  8. The knives are out for any journalist who dares render an opinion you disagree with. That goes for both sides. Settle down and take their reportage with a grain of salt.

    Slusser was on The Wheelhouse today and said that she thinks the move will happen, though perhaps not as quickly as the A’s would like. That’s a perfectly reasonable position to take. Cohn’s position that MLB is cowed by the Giants’ legal threats is also legitimate since MLB has shown no balls to date.

  9. my problem is who other than purdy, slusser and i guess you wanna throw in radio media in townsend/fitzgerald in the bay area media wants the a’s to move to sj? seems either they don’t think the a’s shouldn’t move or won’t be able to move for the reasons talked about to death in recent months, heck years!

    considering the a’s i don’t think can compete staying in oakland, sj i believe is the only way to stay long term and viable on and off the field for the a’s in the bay area and only a few media types ever mentions that.

  10. Whatever happens with this possible move, the A’s ownership doesn’t seem to be winning any hearts and minds. I have never felt this much open disdain and seen such a fractured fan base as I’m seeing now. This year is going to be rough.

  11. Poole is a typical East Bay columnist who will never support the A’s going to San Jose. What’s Poole’s plan for privately financing a new ballpark in Oakland? He doesn’t have one, of course. I think Poole wrote years ago that the Raiders would have no problem selling out once they came back in 1995. Oops.

  12. e: Poole. “Or, two, produce in Oakland and be a part of the team’s fantasy move to San Jose.”

    …What’s the bigger fantasy, the A’s going to San Jose or getting a new ballpark in Oakland?

  13. Monte Poole proves once again that he’s the dumbest stiff in the history of journalism. All that railing against the A’s ownership, and he can’t bring himself to make a single mention of the A’s three year wait for MLB’s Blue Ribbon Panel recommendation on relocation, the elephant in the room that drives all these payroll moves.
    Why does Poole have a job when so many real journalists are out of work?

  14. I think Poole is pretty good. It’s funny, a lot of people on here were praising his column that basically condemned the Coliseum City idea. Now he’s an idiot again?

  15. You think he’s good because he’s an East Bay columnist who holds an Oakland-only position carved in granite. But like the other writers, he has no viable plan for paying for an Oakland ballpark. I never even saw the Coliseum City column….

  16. FWIW, if the A’s latest trades make the public think the owners don’t care about the team, then maybe the owners are just reflecting MLB brass like Selig. who have let the team’s situation linger for years and years. The Dodgers, Mets, Astros, whatever comes up – always bumps the A’s off the agenda.

  17. I have never praised a Monte Poole column in my life, nor have I ever read a Monte Poole column that was worthy of praise, even at the level of a concise paragraph, a well-turned phrase, a clever choice of words, or a precise use of punctuation. I am more eager to encounter the final period in a Monte Poole column than I am for dessert, an after-dinner cognac, or a sweet Cuban cigar. Starting to reading a Monte Poole column is like diving into a vat of raw sewage, an action that’s inevitably followed by flailing, churning, and clambering to climb free of the slime and shower off.

    Monte Poole is the best argument anyone can offer to end all scientific work that might extend human life. The day he ceases to commit crimes against journalism, reason, and common sense by retiring should be declared a national holiday.

  18. Did I mention that’s a beautiful photo of the Saint Claire?

  19. I don’t have much of a problem with the Poole article. Together with his Coliseum City article, he seems to be venting his frustrations that the A’s are sacrificing the years left in Oakland for the park in San Jose. Sure, he takes a few jabs, but I can understand the anger. I also don’t think anything he is saying is very far off base (no pun intended). If the A’s are gonna leave their home city, even for one a few miles down the road, they are just have to take their lumps.

  20. Wow, Mossback. That was impressive. Poetic, even (slam poetry, that is).

  21. Yep. The writing out of Oakland is going to be even more angry over the next couple of years. It hurts to lose the team, and many of these writers are fans too.

  22. I think the article is less about the actual move and more about how the move is being handled/carried out by A’s ownership. However, I could see how some could view Poole as Oakland’s answer to Purdy.

  23. Poole has shown time and again he is not a deep thinker, and it is obvious why he has a job.

    The LW quote has a typo? “…San Jose UNLIKE Oakland is in the path of growth…”

  24. Monte Poole is a good columnist, and has turned many good phrases in his time, since many of us have probably read his stuff for many years. I do appreciate the knowledge and history he brings to his pieces, especially how it pertains to the East Bay, where I grew up. But unfortunately, I do believe he is completely out of touch here, trotting out the same old and tired arguments about why the A’s should stay in a city that has no possible way of keeping them feasibly. If Poole wanted any kind of credibility on this particular issue, why doesn’t he pony up a possible solution? He just uses nicer words, but it’s the same useless nonsense that pro-Oakland only partisans offer.
    Forget about Lew Wolff for a second. Utilizing all the Oakland politicians, the citizens, the community, how does a ballpark in Oakland get done? Totally sincerely, how does it get done? At some point, there has to be more substance than simply, “Give us a ballpark because we are us.” It’s in everyone’s best interest to hope that Oakland can get it done, because if San Jose is a no, our days with the green and gold in the Bay Area are numbered.
    Mr Poole, you have a column that you have used to scream at ownership, and critiques with this firesale are fair. Now how about we move past that and offer a suggestion for Oakland to truly keep this team?
    And by the way, why does Slusser feel such wrath? She is a reporter, not a columnist, and a good one at that. The story points out that Magowan acknowledges the territorial rights could be taken away, and she even went to Wolff for his own reactions. Journalism 101.

  25. My problem has never been whether a columnist feels the A’s should remain in Oakland (everyone is more than entitled to their opinion). My beef is when columnist and reporters ignore reality to somehow “champion” the Giants position re SCCO: they “own” the territorial rights? They can “block” an A’s move to SJ? I just wish for once a Bay Area columnist would call the Giants out on their BS. (Perhaps that’s why Purdy hasn’t had an interview with Baer, Neukom, or Magowan?)

  26. @Tony D. – That one headline bugged me, but that had everything to do with the headline writer. It was a stupid headline to say that the Giants may block a move to San Jose. You are totally correct, the Giants are to do what they are told, they don’t have ultimate say so on this issue. So that headline seemed to infer something that isn’t completely true.

  27. @eb Not buying the “East Bay fans would take this so much better if ownership were handling it differently” line of argument. A rejection is a rejection, period. There’s nothing ownership could do that would make the die-hard Oakland-only’ers feel better.
    It’s much the same as when someone breaks up with you in real life. “I’d feel so much better if only he/she’d return my calls and tell me the true reason.” Um, no, you wouldn’t.

  28. If MLB officials are tied to this hotel purchase, that is a pretty big scoop. Surprised it hasn’t gotten more attention.

  29. St. Claire hotel to be re-branded a Westin. Not bad 😉

  30. Poole is bitter because the team is going to be horrendous the next 2 seasons without a doubt. The A’s lost 2M even after revenue sharing because of a higher payroll trying to compete last year.

    The A’s owners know they cannot compete in Oakland dead last in attendance. So why try? You may as well slash payroll down to 40M and try to rebuild and stay on the cheap until this stadium issue is resolved.

    Tampa Bay, San Diego, Pittsburgh and KC were in that 35M-45M payroll range in 2011. The A’s were at 65M-70M in a cruddy ballpark with no fans. What does that tell you?

    Regardless if the A’s spend $$ or not the fans will not show up. Therefore you have to re-stock the system now in hopes of a San Jose ballpark. Or at least make $$ in the meanwhile, no matter what the A’s will be last in attendance, no way they should be 21st in payroll in that case.

    In the event San Jose does not occur then you can at least collect 30M-40M in revenue sharing a year, turn a profit, and then sell the team to out of town interests for good value at that point.

    Monte Poole instead of being a subjective columnist is speaking like a fan who does not care about the economics…..he is a writer, not a genius after all.

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