Closed for the entire pandemic, and foreclosed and in default for the last six months, Nob Hill’s 101-year-old Huntington Hotel has new owners who apparently bought it on the cheap and claim they will make it “the single finest luxury hotel in San Francisco.”
Most San Francisco hotels have reopened since their pandemic closures three years ago, though some have taken longer to reopen because of ownership changes. But then there’s the case of a hotel that has not reopened because it was foreclosed upon after defaulting on a $56.2 million loan, namely, Nob Hill’s Huntington Hotel at California and Taylor Streets.
That property apparently went up for auction last week while in foreclosure, according to the San Francisco Business Times. And the Business Times reports that the Huntington Hotel was purchased at auction by SF-based Flynn Properties and New York-based Highgate Hotels. According to the Chronicle, the two companies said in a press release that they would “restore and elevate every aspect” of the 135-room hotel, “returning it to its original glory while reestablishing it as the single finest luxury hotel in San Francisco.”
According to the SF Business Times, Flynn Properties and Highgate “submitted a nominal reserve bid for $29 million,” which is barely half of the total that previous owner Woodbridge Capital had defaulted on. That $29 million may or may not be the full purchase price. Interestingly, that paper adds that at the hotel's auction, “There were no other bidders.”
In other words, the new buyers got this property at well below market rate, which they feel will allow them to splurge on amenities to make it a desirable luxury destination. "The idea is for a guest who is coming to San Francisco, and can afford to stay anywhere, chooses here," Flynn Properties CEO Greg Flynn tells the Business Times. "We've bought it at a basis that allows us to put in the very significant investment it will take to bring it there. You couldn't do that otherwise."
And you can read between the lines of how they plan to market the location as being, quite literally, far above the Skid Row elements that affect many Market Street luxury properties. “If you don't want to step out onto Market Street, it's lovely stepping out onto Nob Hill," Flynn said.
When it opened in 1922 at 12 stories tall, the building was the tallest brick and steel structure west of the Mississippi. (It became a hotel in 1924). The Business Times says the new owners will renovate the property’s Big 4 Restaurant and Nob Hill Spa, and the entire hotel is hoping to reopen in 2025.
Image: Kevin Y. via Yelp