Revised North Beach Hotel Plans Spurned By Planning Commission

Yesterday, updated plans for a new hotel to be built by J Street Hospitality and AC Hotels by Marriott at the former Tower Records site (1196 Columbus Ave. at Bay Street) were rejected by the Planning Commission in a 4-3 vote. 

The hospitality group purchased the property in 2014 and has been working to get the project up and running since 2015. Original plans called for the demolition of the current one-story building and the construction of a boutique hotel, called Moxy by Marriott, in its place.

Neighbors voiced concerns over a proposed rooftop deck and lobby bar, and the Commission recommended the project be tabled at a November 2nd meeting, in part because one member wasn't present for the vote.

In response to neighborhood opposition and the hearing being continued, J Street Hospitality and Stanton Architecture resubmitted designs that took away the contentious additions, and decided to rebrand the hotel as AC Hotels by Marriott, a "European-inspired design focused hotel," instead.

Moxy by Marriott rendering. | Graphic: J Street Hospitality

Public comment at Thursday's meeting with the full Commission was mixed, with some neighbors preferring that site be used for affordable housing and others describing hardships the new hotel would cause to their quality of life.

Those in support of the project lamented the potential loss of union construction jobs as well as permanent hotel positions.

Ultimately, the Commission decided the new plans were still inadequate for the parcel and rejected the Conditional Use authorization, killing the project entirely. Commissioners Joel Koppel, Rodney Fong, and Rich Hillis were the dissenting votes.

A representative from J Street Hospitality told the commission before the final vote that he is not a residential developer, and the site has not been underwritten for anything other than a hotel.

Commissioner Kathrin Moore noted that in order for the parcel to transition forward into housing development, another sponsor would have to step up with a new proposal.

Currently, the space is occupied by Basically Free Bike Rentals, which maintains a month-to-month lease with J Street Hospitality.

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Revised north beach hotel plans spurned by planning commission