Larry Ellison, one of Silicon Valley's wealthiest and most extravagant high-tech titans, has added to his collection of riches one of downtown Palo Alto's most visible properties: the Epiphany on Hamilton Avenue.
Ellison, the yacht-obsessed, adrenaline-chasing co-founder of Oracle who in 2012 made headlines when he bought the Hawaiian island of Lanai, is the new owner of the Epiphany, an 86-room hotel that opened last year in a remodeled building that once housed Casa Olga, a convalescent home. The hotel is also home to the restaurant Lure + Till.
The new owner of the hotel is PA Hotel Holdings LLC, a limited-liability corporation owned by Ellison, according to Joie de Vivre, the hotel conglomerate that manages Epiphany. The seller was the private equity firm Angelo, Gordon & Co.
While Joie de Vivre didn't disclose the amount, Ellison reportedly paid $71.6 million for the hotel, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, which first reported the sale.
The move comes at a time when Palo Alto's hotel climate is particularly hot, with hotel-tax revenues surging and vacancy rates at historic lows. The current city budget notes that "demand for Palo Alto rooms is strong," spurring construction and planned construction of several new hotels. This includes two Hilton hotels, which opened for business this year, and the Westin Annex, which is expected to open next year or in 2017. Overall, the city's hotel-tax revenues are expected to jump by about 32.4 percent between fiscal year 2015 and 2016.
"A vibrant business and tourist environment has led to a surge in hotel bookings from San Francisco down through the Peninsula to San Jose," the budget states.
While the price tag may seem steep by most measures, for Ellison it is a relatively ho-hum investment. Forbes has recently named him the third richest American, with an estimated wealth of $50 billion. The Woodside resident stepped down as CEO of Oracle in September of 2014 and now reportedly owns real estate in Malibu and 98 percent of Lanai, which, according to Forbes, includes every hotel room on the island.
Despite the change in ownership, for the Palo Alto hotel it will be "business as usual," said Brittany Ellish, spokeswoman for Joie de Vivre.
"The hotel will remain The Epiphany, a Joie de Vivre Hotel, and it will continue to be managed by Joie de Vivre Hotels," Ellish said in an email.