Ownership flip at Sonoma Mission Inn

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has sold a three-quarters stake in its 226-room Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa to a New York-based real estate investment trust.

The joint venture between Carey Watermark Investors, Inc., and now-quarter-owner Fairmont, invested $97.1 million in the property, financed with $44 million of debt. Carey Watermark’s stake was $73.3 million, including an allocated portion of debt, according to a joint announcement last week.

Fairmont will continue to manage the resort under a long-term agreement.

The deal comes 16 months after Fairmont acquired full ownership of the landmark resort for a reported $100 million. At that time a 20 percent owner, Fairmont bought out Crescent Real Estate Equities, which acquired the majority stake in 1996.

When Texas-based Crescent defaulted on a $55 million loan, the resort avoided a foreclosure auction schedule for January of 2012.

The hotel remained open and business was unaffected. Sonoma Mission Inn is the top-grossing hotel in Sonoma County, according to county tourism officials, and has more than 500 employees.

The first phase of an approximate $10.7 million renovation is nearing completion and includes a complete redesign of the lobby and the Sante fine dining room as well as the creation of a new lobby bar. Additional work is planned over the next two years, including the spa and other areas of the property
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