Healdsburg's Saggio Hills project may start next year

Saggio Hills, the long delayed luxury hotel and residential development on the north fringe of Healdsburg, is moving forward again after being hobbled by legal challenges and a downturn in the economy.

Robert S. Green Jr., the developer, said this week that he plans to complete the final map and design review on the project this year and begin construction in 2015.

"That's our hope," he said. "There's still a lot of work to do, which is great. It's nice to be back, heading in that direction."

"It's a big deal and something we've been waiting for," City Councilman Gary Plass said of the revived signs of life for the 130-room, five-star hotel, and 70-home project on the largest swath of undeveloped land in Healdsburg.

Mayor Jim Wood said it's welcome news, but also cautioned "there's still a lot of things that need to happen before he's ready to begin that project."

Green acknowledged the financing is not fully in place for Saggio Hills. The project has been estimated to cost $310 million, but Green declined to confirm the figure Wednesday.

He expressed confidence the remaining capital will be obtained to begin the hotel construction at the same time the first homes are being built.

"Fortunately, we've been able to put the capital debt in place for two of our projects in Southern California," he said of two large hotels his company is pursuing — in Hollywood and San Diego's Gaslamp district.

"Lenders are back in the business of funding construction loans for hotels," said Green, who is based in Encinitas and has developed several Four Seasons resorts in California and Wyoming.

Saggio Hills, with its approximate $700-per-night hotel room rate "is being designed to compete in the luxury hospitality market in the Wine Country," Green said.

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