Landmark East Bay Claremont hotel is bought for more than $160 million

Landmark East Bay Claremont hotel is bought for more than $160 million

OAKLAND — The Claremont Club & Spa, an iconic hotel perched in the hills on the Oakland and Berkeley border, has been bought by a Bay Area real estate developer in a deal that tops $160 million.

The hotel, part of the Fairmont chain, was bought for about $163.3 million, according to documents filed on May 12 with the Alameda County Recorder’s Office.

Redwood City Ohana Real Estate Investors, acting through an affiliate, bought the hotel in an all-cash deal, the county records showed.

The 276-room hotel is located at 41 Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Properties located both in Oakland and Berkeley were included in the property transaction, the county documents show.

An affiliate headed up by Blum Capital Partners and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts sold the hotel site to the Ohana Real Estate Investors group, county and state public documents show.

The late Richard Blum for many years was a principal executive of Blum Capital. Blum also was married to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California).

“The purchase by Ohana really speaks to how people view trophy assets in great locations, such as the Claremont,” said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks the hotel sector.

The hotel complex is a historic property and is listed as an Oakland City Historical Landmark. The Claremont also is a member of Historic Hotels of America.

Besides the hotel and club, the 22-acre includes a 20,000-square-foot spa, 10 tennis courts and landscaped gardens.

To be sure, the hotel boasts plenty of prestige and a notable cachet. Still, the price that Ohana Real Estate paid for the Claremont complex is a reminder of the hotel market’s struggles in the wake of the coronavirus.

In July 2022, the Claremont property was appraised at $182 million, according to information that Reay has reviewed.

In 2017, the hotel’s occupancy rate averaged around 73%, Reay said. Just ahead of the coronavirus outbreak, the hotel was projecting that its occupancy levels would average around 76.6%.

Yet by July 2022, the hotel occupancy rate for the Claremont had tumbled to 58%, Reay reported. The average daily room rate was $420.51 a night, he added.

Despite these challenges, Ohana, the new owners, appear to be in good shape with the hotel the real estate firm has just bought.

“Ohana is a very smart investor,” Reay said. “They are buying the Claremont Hotel for less than the appraised value. I think they will do very well with the Claremont.”

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