Award-winning hotel brand launches California flagship hotel,
a key milestone in citizenM’s ambitious rollout plan across the United States
SAN FRANCISCO, April 22, 2019 — In California this month, citizenM — the pioneer of affordable luxury hotels — is doing what they do best once again: launching a new hotel and causing further disruption in the traditional hotel industry. The award-winning brand will debut its first location in California and one of three in the Bay Area with a much-anticipated groundbreaking ceremony for citizenM San Francisco Union Square. The new, 195-room hotel, with a rooftop public open space, adds to the two new citizenM locations in New York City and two opening this year in Boston and Seattle.
The public groundbreaking will be celebrated on Thursday, April 25th from 11-11:45 a.m. at 72 Ellis Street, with representatives from the owner and operator citizenM, the general contractor Webcor, and the architecture and design firm Gensler.
With citizenM San Francisco Union Square, citizenM continues to build on the brand’s ambitious rollout, which by 2020 will reach 40 properties either open or in development globally — more than doubling its current portfolio. In North America alone, citizenM is already under development with a dozen hotels in major markets that also include Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Miami.
The citizenM San Francisco Union Square hotel is designed by the Amsterdam-based firm Concrete, a long-time partner of citizenM. Their design for the prime San Francisco location is – as usual – unmistakably citizenM, without duplicating anything they’ve done before. For the new 72 Ellis Street site, citizenM and Concrete have joined with a world-class San Francisco project team to break ground on the 12-story new building, led by design, planning and architecture firm Gensler and Webcor, a premier general and specialty contractor known for building landmark structures.
Since its founding in 2008, citizenM has upended the rules of traditional hospitality by introducing the concept of “affordable luxury for the people.” The company’s approach starts with selecting well-connected locations in the world’s most popular cities, so business and leisure guests spend the shortest possible time commuting. Each property offers a streamlined, luxury experience — including high-tech amenities, friendly and efficient service, comfortable guest rooms, and spacious and inviting living areas filled with contemporary art and iconic furniture brands from the 21st century, such as Vitra — all at an affordable price.
The new San Francisco location will boast an expansive public lobby area and outdoor terraces, as well as proximity to the city’s premium Union Square shopping district. In addition to the immaculately designed guestrooms, the new building will have 1,200 square feet of privately owned public open space, or POPOS, on its rooftop. Other amenities include a fitness center, meeting space, and 6,100 square feet of varied retail uses on its ground floor and mezzanine. citizenM is searching for a likeminded lifestyle brands to enter into a long-term partnership to activate street-level spaces in San Francisco, Miami, New York City, Paris, and London.
At the front of the 130-foot-tall building for citizenM San Francisco Union Square, an art wall entry vestibule will draw guests toward the hotel. After riding a jump-elevator to the third floor, inside they will meet citizenM’s ambassadors and receive their keys after just a one-minute visit to the self check-in/check-out kiosks. Surrounding the kiosks, guests can enjoy the citizenM living room featuring double-height ceilings, bookshelves, and a 24/7 canteenM bar at the heart of it. Glass walls will stream in plenty of daylight, opening the spaces to the neighborhood, all furnished with benches and picnic tables and decorated for a fresh, relaxed vibe.
citizenM’s philosophy of “affordable luxury” is best experienced in the guestrooms at citizenM San Francisco Union Square. The rooms will be smartly furnished with “everything modern travelers need, and nothing they don’t.” All guestroom features are designed to be the very best: the beds will be XL king-size wall-to-wall with a superb mattress and luxury bedding. An HD TV will offer a library of on-demand movies, plus streaming options via free superfast Wi-Fi. A relaxing rain shower with full-size shower gel and shampoo (as well as giant fluffy towels) will soothe all long- and short-haul travelers. The room ambiance will be fully controlled by an iPad – the blinds, the TV, even the lights with changeable colors.
citizenM San Francisco Union Square will also draw inspiration from the local community for the hotel’s interior, which will be filled with an eclectic mix of contemporary art, photography, and objects by local artists.
“When we were looking for our San Francisco location, it became clear very quickly that Union Square is an exceptional destination,” says Rattan Chadha, the founder of citizenM. “We don’t want to be just another building; we want to become part of the neighborhood’s fabric while showing San Francisco’s visitors a different side of the city. Even the art we use will be drawn from the local art scene, as well as international contributors.”
“Our site selection process is fairly simple: We look at the world’s largest cities and locations where culture and commerce intersect, where the prime sites allows our guests to not only walk to destinations such as Moscone Center but just as easily the Orpheum or the American Conservatory Theater,” says Ernest Lee, head of development and investment for citizenM. “Like so many others, we were attracted to San Francisco because of its rich history through its role in civil rights, counterculture, and innovation. We hope to integrate ourselves into the neighborhood -- and through jobs, tax revenue, and the arts -- and offer back as much as we take in from this incredible city.”
“San Francisco is a great market for the citizenM hospitality experience, and we will bring its innovative and unique brand to life,” says Tom Soohoo, Webcor vice president. “This project is highly collaborative, and our self-perform teams for concrete, drywall, interiors and more will be instrumental throughout the build. Along with our project partners, we are thrilled to contribute to San Francisco’s most imaginative, affordable luxury hotel that values comfort and connectedness with our city’s cultural experiences and exciting downtown core.”
citizenM intends to keep growing as a fully integrated owner-operator in selected gateway cities arounds the world. In addition to citizenM’s established pipeline in the largest U.S. cities, the company is eyeing further afield, and will consider expanding further into its existing markets, as well as new markets such as Toronto, Chicago, Austin, Silicon Valley, Nashville, and Denver. citizenM considers ground-up development sites, office conversions, components of large mixed-use projects, or conversions of existing hotels. The company will also selectively consider “asset light” transactions. For more information, visit www.citizenm.com/company.
The citizenM philosophy is ‘affordable luxury for the people’, offering guests all the luxuries they would expect from a high-end hotel in a prime location, but without sky-high prices. citizenM was founded by Rattan Chadha, the founder and former CEO of the fashion brand Mexx. The first citizenM hotel opened at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in 2008, followed by citizenM Amsterdam in 2009; citizenM Glasgow in 2010, and citizenM London Bankside in 2012. Rotterdam, New York and Paris locations followed in 2014. In 2016, two more hotels were added to the London portfolio: citizenM Tower of London, and citizenM Shoreditch. In 2017, citizenM opened Paris La Defense and Paris Gare de Lyon hotels. Also in 2017, the company moved into the Asian market, with its first location at Taipei North Gate. citizenM New York Bowery will welcome guests from autumn 2018. Further announcements about expansion in the US, Europe and Asia will follow soon.
Alex Abarbanel-Grossman, C.C. Sullivan
T: +1 646 683 1033