Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Vallejo Holiday Inn to get Mariott name, look

August 24, 2005

Holiday Inn to get Mariott name, look

By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN, Times-Herald staff writer

CORPOREX, a Cincinnati-based hotel development company, plans to remodel the Vallejo Holiday Inn for operation as a Courtyard by Marriott hotel. Photo: J.L. Sousa/Times-Herald

After approval by the Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the Holiday Inn Vallejo-Napa Valley Gateway is poised to change hands and become a Courtyard by Marriott, hotel and county officials said.

The Holiday Inn is in escrow with Corporex, a large, 40-year-old Cincinnati-based hotel development firm, said Corporex spokesman Jim Warshawski.

Though Corporex is well-known in the Midwest and southeast United States, the Vallejo deal is among its first forays into California and the first in northern California, Warshawski said.

Pending all the details working out, which should take a couple weeks, Warshawski said, the Holiday Inn on Vallejo's Fairgrounds Drive is in for a total renovation. He said complete details of the sale can't be disclosed yet because the process is in a sensitive phase.

"We'll convert it to a Marriott Courtyard if the sale goes through," Warshawski said. "The exterior facade will be refinished to resemble a new Courtyard - a cleaner, more modern design - but most of the cost of the remodel will be on the inside. The lobby will be totally redesigned and rebuilt. So will the bathrooms. There will be new furniture and carpet. It will look like a new, modern, state-of-the-art Courtyard by Marriott."

The improvements will mean an upgrade for the city of Vallejo and Solano County, he said.

"It will be a nice improvement for the county," Warshawski said. "Marriott and Hilton are known as the leaders in quality hotels, so it's certainly a step up."

Solano County Supervisor Barbara Kondylis of Vallejo said "it's a great idea," but notes the sale isn't final and anything could happen.

The county Board of Supervisors approved the plan 5-0 Tuesday.

Warshawski said the opportunity to buy the Holiday Inn came to his firm's attention last year, "just about the time we started the program to build new hotels." He said he knows of no opposition to the project.

"Anybody can intuitively know that a new Marriott is an improvement over an older Holiday Inn - that it can only be a benefit," Warshawski said.

Vallejo City Manager Roger Kemp thinks so, too.

"I would say this is good. It's a great location, too, with its proximity to the highway and Marine World, and with what will be going on there in the next few years," Kemp said, referring to the planned redevelopment of the Solano County Fairgrounds into a year-round retail/entertainment destination. Kemp said the hotel, like the fairgrounds, sits on county-owned land.

"The current ground lease expires in 2011, with four 10-year options that take it out to 2051," Kemp said. "That's why the county has to approve the sale."

The Holiday Inn building was originally approved by the Solano County Board of Supervisors in 1979 and built in the 1980s, according to newspaper clippings from the time, said Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum executive director Jim Kern.

The hotel was purchased from Ron Pitamber of Pitamber Enterprises by the Modesto-based Rim Hospitality Corp. in July 1999. Rim made $2 million in renovations and hosted a big celebration when they were finished in 2000.

Holiday Inn General Manager Gary Gomez, a Rim employee, said Corporex officials have toured the property several times in the past few months. Gomez said he thinks Rim will continue managing the property if the sale is finalized, which company officials expect will be by the end of August.

"They've had architects snooping around, so they're planning it, and the place could use a facelift. But any sale is potential until the ink is dry," Gomez said.

- E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at or call 553-6824.

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.

Blog Archive