Deal Closes for Luxury Hotel on Oakland’s Historic Waterfront

Oakland, CA – Ellis Partners LLC, Joie de Vivre Hospitality (JdV), and Transbay Holdings today announced the closing of a deal to purchase, renovate, and operate the Waterfront Plaza Hotel at Jack London Square. The partnership will begin work immediately on a multi-million dollar renovation project which will add to the momentum of Jack London Square’s revitalization and provide the high-end amenities and service for which the JdV is known. As part of the project, Bay Area culinary icon Joey Altman will spearhead the development of a new destination restaurant on Oakland’s waterfront.

“We are delighted to work with a partner like Joie de Vivre,” said Ellis Partners co-founder Jim Ellis. “They have a proven track record of creating world-class operations throughout California. Joie de Vivre will make this the premier boutique hotel in the East Bay and a major component to our redevelopment of Jack London Square.”

Work will begin immediately on a comprehensive renovation project that will include the restaurant, lobby, and exterior. The project will also include new finishes and furnishings in the hotel’s 145 rooms. When completed, the hotel will be a luxury destination in line with Joie de Vivre’s more than 30 other California hotels and restaurants.

As with JdV’s wildly popular eatery, Americano, the new hotel will feature a high-energy destination restaurant of its own. The current Jack’s Bistro will close and, after extensive remodeling, reopen mid-summer under a new name and concept. Celebrity chef Joey Altman will guide the restaurant’s rebirth.

Altman is the host of the award-winning program Bay Café, a daily television program which provides food and wine enthusiasts with an insider’s look at the Bay Area’s rich and diverse culinary scene. Altman first came into the national spotlight in 1989 with the runaway success of his San Francisco restaurant Miss Pearl’s Jam House. Miss Pearl’s African and Caribbean-inspired menu of bright, exotic flavors caught the attention of food critics nationwide and made the restaurant a smash-hit.

“Joey’s energy and expertise are an enormous asset to this endeavor,” said Joie de Vivre’s founder Chip Conley. “Everything he does is characterized by a vivacity and enthusiasm that are sure to be evident in this restaurant.”

Though the name and concept for the new hotel and restaurant have not yet been released, the groundwork has been laid. Joie de Vivre’s approach to this complete remodel is similar in concept to other design projects for which the company is known. Using a magazine (or hybrid of two) as the organizing principle for the hotel, Joie de Vivre has found that the words that would describe their model magazine also became a touchstone for the hotel’s personality as well as their likely core customers. In the case of the Waterfront Plaza project, the magazines Islands and Fast Company were selected to typify the style and atmosphere of the new hotel. The remodel will focus on the adjectives, “Soulful, Casual, Festive, Adventurous, and Stimulating” to characterize the new vision.

The hotel will remain open during the remodeling process. When complete, the project will directly address a lack of high-end hospitality options in the East Bay where luxury boutiques are few and far between.

Both the restaurant and remodeled hotel are expected to debut in mid-summer 2008. The Waterfront Plaza Hotel project is part of Ellis Partners’ $375 million revitalization of Jack London Square, which will bring new restaurants, retailers and Class A offices to Oakland’s waterfront.

About Ellis Partners:
Ellis Partners LLC ( was founded in 1993 for the purpose of acquiring and developing commercial real estate properties. The firm has a long history of championing and completing architecturally significant renovation and development projects.

About Joie de Vivre Hospitality
Based in San Francisco, Joie de Vivre Hospitality ( is a creative collection of lifestyle businesses. As California’s largest independent boutique hotelier, Joie de Vivre encompasses other hospitality businesses such as restaurants and spas. Celebrating 20 years of creating dreams, Joie de Vivre Hospitality is expanding its California presence in Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Sunnyvale, Huntington Beach and beyond.