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Sonoma Valley Sun


Hotel for sale; state money for local projects; new stage direction; and more

Posted on July 2, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun


MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa is the site of much work and construction, particularly since the purchase of the vacant lot across the street on Broadway in Sonoma. The next addition is a For Sale sign. The owner, Lat33 Capital wants to move the 64-room luxury resort (spa, restaurant, etc.). Once a Victorian home and barn, the original five-acre property was developed as a hotel by Susan Brangham. Her group sold it in 2017, for $36 million, to the Arizona-based Lat33 Capital. New capital is needed “to complete the vision of the property-wide transformation that began in 2017,” the company stated. The plan includes five new buildings with 11 guest rooms on the existing grounds, and whatever will become of the 1.9-acre parcel – an old used car lot – at 870 Broadway. 

The state budget includes a tidy $7.5 million for Sonoma County programs including affordable housing, regional park renovations, food security and firefighting equipment. The bonus “injection of state funding,” said County Administrator Christina Rivera, will allow the county to accomplish more than it planned.” Sonoma County Regional Parks is set to receive $2.25 million for two parks in Sonoma Valley. Maxwell Farms Regional Park will get $1 million to renovate and improve existing facilities as well as add new features as envisioned in the 85-acre park’s master plan (now well underway). Another $1 million will go to Larson Regional Park, where a major renovation will deliver a new soccer field, playground, pickleball courts, basketball and tennis courts, gathering areas, a picnic area, landscaping, ecological restoration, parking and other amenities. “Larson Park is a beloved neighborhood park, surrounded by hundreds of families in Boyes Hot Springs needing a safe place to gather,” Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin said. “Sadly, the park facilities are in serious condition; the master plan was approved by the board several years ago, but it has been awaiting an infusion of resources to complete the desperately needed renovations. Thank you Sen. Bill Dodd and all of our state elected officials for supporting this request in the budget.”

 More budget bonuses: The Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative, a partnership between the county and conservation groups that works to reduce future impacts of wildfire in the Sonoma Valley, will receive $250,000. And: $1 million for the Sonoma County Fire District to purchase new wildland firefighting equipment. 

The City of Sonoma’s (precariously) balanced budget calls for spending $800,000 on parks, including a new open space, working title Fifth Street West Park (at MacArthur). Olson Park will get some attention ($115,000 in new funding over the next five years), as will parks Depot ($200k) and Pinelli ($32k). Sonoma Plaza is down for $230k in improvements… Nearly $8 million is earmarked for road repair, sealing and safety, including improved pedestrian crossings on Broadway. The biggest chunk: $3.3 million to replace the antique bridge on Chase Street, between Broadway and Austin (photo)…The City-owned Depot Park Museum will have heat and air again when a $217k rehab is complete… All the fancy maths courtesy of a City that has not had a proper financial audit in years. Why not? Shouldn’t that be mandated, part of routine policy? Perhaps the new City Manager can make that part of the annual routine. 

Transcendence Theatre Company has added another dramatic pivot to its repertoire. The remainder of the company’s Broadway Under The Stars season will utilize an outdoor stage at the Beltane Ranch property in Glen Ellen. The move, forced by a delay of a court-ordered environmental review, is the third change of venue this season. In May, Transcendence was forced to move The Beat Goes On to Belos Cavalos. The idea was always to move back to Transcendence’s longtime home, Jack London State Park. But with the paperwork still not complete, the company — remarkably, and up against a drop-dead deadline — was forced to find yet another outdoor space that works as an open air theater. Up stepped Beltane Ranch, the Historical Landmark inn and 100-acre farm operation off of Highway 12 in Glen Ellen. The partnership with Beltane is critical to the organization’s future, said Transcendence Executive Director Brad Surosky. “Our nonprofit and all the performing arts programs we provide throughout the North Bay could be eliminated if we don’t have a full 2023 summer season…  Beltane will host the 12-show run of The Full Monty (through July 2) and the six-show An Enchanted Evening (Sept.7-17).

Much like a baby crying on an airplane or a Wes Anderson movie, the saga of the Sonoma Hotel just seems to go on forever. It was 2012 when real estate magnate/media baron Darius Anderson first proposed a hotel for the 100 block of West Napa Street. What is now known as Hotel Project Sonoma has endured intense public scrutiny, undergone several design iterations and two environmental studies, and been halted by an appeal. The story continues July 20 before the Sonoma Planning Commission, which will discuss (but not vote on) the environmental report on the latest plan: 62 rooms; restaurant; spa; 113-car parking garage; and, crucially, an eight-unit residential condominium building. It was that housing component – legally required, the city said – that caused the latest delay… Wow, 2012, muses The Eastsider. “Back when turmeric was kale and Ken Mattson was Darius Anderson.”


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