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June 18, 2024
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Iconic National Hotel in Historic Jackson, CA Trades Hands


The iconic National Hotel, located at 2 Water St in historic downtown Jackson, CA, in the heart of California’s Gold Country, recently changed ownership. Hari Johl, a successful hotelier who operates several Hilton-flagged properties, acquired the 36-room asset from Stanley Lukowicz, a prominent local businessperson and philanthropist, for $3.5 mil.

Originally built as the Louisiana House in 1852, the hotel had a rowdy history that dates from the days when Jackson was a mecca of gambling halls and bordellos. In fact, for a time, the Louisiana House was itself a bordello. It originated as a general store in 1849 and the original owners were Ellis Evans and D.C. White. The hotel burned down in 1862 along with most of the town, which sits roughly 45 miles southeast of Sacramento. It was rebuilt as the National Hotel and that name has remained until today.

During the California Gold Rush boom, the hotel prospered along with the rest of the town. Among the many hotels, boarding houses, gambling dens and 24-hour saloons on Main Street, the National Hotel always stood out. Over the years, the hotel played host to four U.S. presidents, as well as other notable guests such as Mark Twain, John Ford and the “gentleman bandit” Black Bart. John Wayne was a regular guest at the hotel and his favorite room is now called the John Wayne room.

In 2012, Lukowicz decided to buy the hotel to save it from further dilapidation. He undertook a $4.5 mil renovation of the hotel to restore it to its previous glory as part of a high-minded historic project and partly as a gift to the City of Jackson. He already owned nearly half of Main Street and his goal was to revive the hotel and the downtown area and present the Gold Country area with a world-class hotel.

The entire building underwent a complete remodel right to the studs. A few of the enhancements included new electrical, new plumbing, a brand new elevator and the addition of bathrooms to all the rooms. The bathrooms had heated floors installed and a new central air conditioning and heating system was installed. The rooms and common areas were furnished with period antique furniture and plush bedding. The bar and restaurant were revived into an upscale steakhouse and a bar serving full liquor.

The buyer plans to brand the hotel into a Hilton Hotel. Rick Lahkar with Sperry Commercial Affiliates (SperryCGA) brokered the transaction.

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