Reopening of Signia by Hilton hotel could boost job market
SAN JOSE >> A big downtown San Jose hotel that was shuttered for more than a year due to coronaviruslinked economic ailments has officially reopened and is poised to add hundreds of local jobs.
Signia by Hilton San Jose, formerly the Fairmont San Jose, opened its doors again April 25, a resurrection that was accomplished despite the coronavirus, business shutdowns and a protracted and sometimes contentious bankruptcy proceeding.
“We are excited that this hotel can bring life and energy back to downtown San Jose and to welcome our team and our guests,” said Sam Hirbod, a Bay Area business executive and principal owner of the 805room lodging.
The new hotel is expected to buoy downtown San Jose's job market.
“We are hiring several hundred people, maybe close to 1,000,” Hirbod said.
In March 2021, the hotel shut its doors and its ownership group filed for bankruptcy, seeking to restructure the facility's debts through a financial reorganization that ousted the incumbent hotel management entity and installed one of Hilton's brands as the new management.
“It's been a difficult two years,” Hirbod said during an interview in the hotel's lobby on the reopening day.
The bankruptcy case revealed that the hotel had suffered from persistent red ink starting around the time of the business lockdowns in the spring of 2020.
“Everybody who is part of the team is looking forward
to this and to bringing prosperity to the downtown and what San Jose deserves,” Hirbod said.
On opening evening, guests could be seen in the revamped lobby, main bar and dining areas, partaking of food and beverages.
“We are delighted to welcome Signia by Hilton to San Jose, a city that is synonymous with innovation,” said Danny Hughes, a Hilton executive vice president and president of Hilton's Americas operation.
Initially, guests will stay in the southern and newer tower while a floor-tofloor, room-by-room renovation is completed in the northern tower of the Signia by Hilton. For decades, the hotel operated at 170 S. Market St. as the Fairmont.
“The hotel's debut strengthens the city's positioning as a leading destination for some of the most prominent meetings and social events,” Hughes said.
Still, plenty of challenges loom as the new Signia by Hilton attempts to navigate a path to prosperity.
“The big question is how long will it take for these big hotels to return to profitability,”
said Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks the California lodging market.
Larger hotels that cater primarily to conventions and business travelers have struggled to recuperate from their economic maladies.
In contrast, hotels in luxury resorts or destination markets such as the North Bay Wine Country and Monterey County's Big Sur region have commanded record-high prices over the last two years.
Still, some signs have begun to emerge to suggest that even business hotels are in the early stages of a rebound.
“We're definitely seeing hotel financial results in 2022 that are a lot better than 2021,” Reay said.
Despite the challenges, Hirbod is looking forward to the amenities, dining and drinking services that the new Signia by Hilton can provide in downtown San Jose.
“We are super excited about the type of product we are delivering to the downtown and the hotel guests,” Hirbod said.