Shovels go in the ground for Hotel Winters

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WINTERS — Just when everyone in the community was beginning to doubt that a downtown hotel would ever be built on the vacant lot on Abbey Street between Main and First streets, it finally happened:

On Thursday, May 4, ceremonial golden shovels dipped into the soil, with city officials, investors, financiers and the developer each taking turns in groups to mark the occasion.

Developer Mike Olivas of AKM Railroad LLC blew his ever-present coach’s whistle to get the attention of everyone in attendance, and shouted, “Let’s get this started!”

“It’s been a long, long process,” said Olivas, who spoke about his conversations with the Royal Guest hotel partners and how they agreed to get on board with the project, and praised both the USDA and Yolo Federal Credit Union for their support.

The USDA guaranteed a loan of just over $9 million that Yolo Federal Credit Union provided to make the $13 million-plus project a reality, with the remaining funding coming from equity and cash.

Hotel Winters will have 73 rooms above a ground-floor, 2,350-square-foot conference area with another 2,000 square feet of meeting space. A 5,000-square-foot restaurant and an additional 7,000 square feet of commercial space also will fill the ground floor.

Thirty-four spaces for hotel parking are available in the former parking lot for City Hall, on First Street between Main and Abbey streets. Twelve more spaces will be created with diagonal striping on Abbey Street.

Olivas said the actual groundbreaking for construction depends on dry soil, adding that the soil remains wet about a foot below the surface.

“But when we get started, it’s going to go and it’s going to be pretty exciting to watch,” he added.

John Pickerel, owner of The Buckhorn, said hotels amenities like a rooftop venue, courtyard, ballroom and meeting rooms will make Winters more visible to corporate clients, wedding parties and UC Davis groups.

— Reach Debra DeAngelo at

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