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Union Square revitalized, hotel chairman says

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Karl Hoagland, the chairman of Larkspur Hotels & Restaurants, is poised to officially reopen the newly renovated Villa Florence hotel on Oct. 2, which he said capitalizes on the “revitalization of Union Square.”

First, the hotel was kitty-corner from the new H&M store, which is a kind of lifeline because it revitalized shopping in Union Square. And with the Westfield Centre and the development in the South of Market district, we thought the neighborhood was gentrifying.

Do you think The City will attract more tourism in the near future? I think so. I think San Francisco is an incredible, unique, one-of-a-kind national treasure and international destination, in terms of the beautiful setting by the Bay and cultural amenities. And new capital is definitely coming in; the whole area is being taken up [for new development].

What are the hotel’s new amenities? One thing is the awning in the front of the building, it was like a plastic box or canvas or vinyl — fake porte-cochère. It was heinous. We painted the exterior of the building, put a more traditional Italian awning at the front, a steel fan with glass, and it’s really beautiful now.

What kind of guests are you targeting with the hotel? Mostly upscale individual business travelers, and on weekends and holidays, upscale travelers who want to be near shopping centers and cultural attractions. The rooms will average about $225 [per night, one bed].

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