The Sir Francis Drake hotel renovated and reopened as the Beacon Grand last year, but the California Labor Commissioner alleges they stiffed workers to the tune of $730,000 during that renovation.
Union Square’s famed Sir Francis Drake hotel, once known for its dandy doormen in beefeater outfits, was sold in 2021 to Connecticut-based Northview Hotel Group. The new owners promptly ditched the name “Sir Francis Drake” (because of the explorer’s connection to the West African slave trade), renamed it the Beacon Grand, and renovated large sections of the 418-room hotel at Powell and Sutter Streets.
But about that renovation: In October, the Chronicle reported that construction workers were holding a squatter’s protest at the hotel, because they hadn’t been paid for their work in months. Now nearly five months later, that still seems to be not entirely resolved, as the San Francisco Business Times reports that the California Labor Commission is suing the Beacon Grand’s owners over $730,000 in unpaid wages.
The suit was reportedly filed Monday in San Francisco Superior Court. Per the Business Times, “The commissioner is seeking recovery of wages from Excel [Hotel Services Inc., the general contractor] and [Excel CEO Stephen] Pavone, while the hotel property owner is named in more than a dozen mechanics liens, which if granted, entitle foreclosure and sale of the property toward payment.”
Yes, one of San Francisco’s most prestigious luxury hotels could be foreclosed upon and forced into a sale. That’s highly unlikely to happen — properties usually settle in these cases before it hits foreclosure. But this is a possibility on paper, at least, if the court rules against them. Excel Hotel Services Inc. and Northview Hotel Group did not respond to the Business Times’s requests for comment.
The one-time Sir Francis Drake and now-Beacon Grand will have its 100th anniversary in 2028. (That is, should it avoid foreclosure over unpaid wage claims.) And in terms of the Starlite Room, which has been closed for the duration of the pandemic, the hotel simply says “Starlite will shine again, redesigned by Bill Rooney Studio to welcome the next wave of view-seekers 21 floors above The City.”
Image: Steph Q. via Yelp