Downtown San Jose hotel reopens and will add hundreds of jobs to economy

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Guests gather at the bar in the lobby of the Signia by Hilton hotel, located at 170 S. Market St. in downtown San Jose, April 2022. A large downtown San Jose hotel that was closed for over a year due to coronavirus related Economic Diseases has officially reopened and is set to add hundreds of local jobs. (George Avalos/Bay Area News Group)

SAN JOSE — A large hotel in downtown San Jose that was closed for more than a year due to economic issues related to the coronavirus has officially reopened and is poised to create hundreds of local jobs.

Signia by Hilton San Jose reopened on Monday, a resurrection that was accomplished despite the coronavirus, business closings and a protracted and sometimes contentious bankruptcy proceeding.

“We are thrilled that this hotel can bring life and energy back to downtown San Jose and welcome our team and guests,” said Sam Hirbod, a Bay Area business executive and principal owner of the accommodation of 805 rooms.

The new hotel is expected to boost the downtown San Jose job market.

Sam Hirbod, principal owner of the Signia by Hilton, stands in the lobby of the downtown San Jose hotel at 170 S. Market St. (George Avalos/Bay Area News Group)

“We’re hiring several hundred people, maybe close to 1,000,” Hirbod said.

In March 2021, the hotel closed and its ownership group filed for bankruptcy, seeking to restructure the property’s debts through a financial reorganization that ousted the incumbent hotel management entity and installed one of Hilton’s brands as new management.

“It’s been a tough two years,” Hirbod said during an interview in the hotel lobby on the April 25 reopening day.

The bankruptcy filing revealed the hotel suffered from lingering red ink from the time of business closures in the spring of 2020.

“Everyone on the team is looking forward to this and bringing prosperity to downtown and what San Jose deserves,” Hirbod said.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 16: The new sign for the Signia by Hilton hotel, formerly the Fairmont San Jose, is pictured Wednesday, March 16, 2022. The downtown hotel’s new owners plan to open the Signia during the first week of April. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

On Monday evening, guests could be seen in the renovated lobby, main bar and dining areas, grabbing food and drinks.

“We are thrilled to welcome Signia by Hilton to San Jose, a city synonymous with innovation,” said Danny Hughes, Executive Vice President of Hilton and President of Hilton US Operations.

Initially, guests will stay in the newer South Tower, while a floor-to-floor, room-by-room renovation is being completed in the Signia by Hilton North Tower. For decades, the hotel operated at 170 S. Market St. as the Fairmont San Jose.

“The hotel’s debut reinforces the city’s positioning as a premier destination for some of the most important meetings and social events,” Hughes said.

Still, many challenges loom as the new Signia by Hilton tries to carve its way to prosperity.

“The big question is how long will it take for these large hotels to return to profitability,” said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks the California lodging market. .

Large hotels that primarily cater to conventions and business travelers are struggling to recover from their economic illnesses.

In contrast, hotels in luxury resorts or destination markets such as the North Bay wine country and the Big Sur district of Monterey County have hit record prices over the past two years.

Still, some signs have started to appear suggesting that even business hotels are in the early stages of a rebound.

“We were certainly seeing much better hotel financial results in 2022 than in 2021,” Reay said.

Despite the challenges, Hirbod looks forward to the amenities, food and beverage services that the new Signia by Hilton can offer in downtown San Jose.

“We’re very excited about the type of product we’re delivering to downtown and hotel guests,” Hirbod said.

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