City OKs fifth floor, 13 additional rooms; scheduled for completion in December 2025

By Staff Reports

Morgan Hill’s boutique hotel has resumed construction. Hotel MOHI will be a full-service luxury hotel in the heart of downtown on First Street and Monterey Road.

Construction was forced to stop during the COVID-19 pandemic due to tightening of lending markets. In 2022, to make the project more financially viable, the hotel was redesigned to accommodate a partial fifth floor and 13 additional rooms, for a total of 73 rooms.

The MOHI hotel will include a spa, meeting facilities, and a market-hall restaurant. The hotel is expected to be completed by December 2025.

Hotel owner/developer Frank Leal has partnered with local builder Kent Construction to manage the construction.

Kent Construction is a builder/developer based in Gilroy that has completed more than $400 million of construction work as a general contractor.

Kent Construction is completing another project in downtown Morgan Hill, the Edes Fine Art Gallery. It’s being built by Ladera Grill and Colibri Gallery owner Dan McCranie.
Although construction came to a standstill in 2020, the two-story structure was far from abandoned. From the concrete shell of the unfinished hotel arose a popular dining concept — MOHI Social.

The restaurant was referenced as one of the “Top 9 Fresh Air Finds” for outdoor dining by the Mercury News during the pandemic. The shell was transformed into a bustling outdoor eaterie offering upscale cuisine and craft cocktails as well as live music on weekends.

“The hospitality industry was decimated by the pandemic, and financing for hotels became virtually impossible,” said Economic Development Director Matt Mahood. “We are grateful for the temporary activation that created the largest and most active outdoor pop-up restaurant in the Bay Area while the owner secured additional entitlements and financing.”

“When the pandemic hit, my main focus was on retaining my employees,” Leal said. “Launching MOHI Social allowed me to do just that and gave me the time I needed to adjust the hotel design and reposition the project to secure additional investment. I have promised the Morgan Hill community a boutique hotel, and I intend to make good on that promise,” said Leal.

Leal recently opened a permanent restaurant at the base of Republic Urban Housing’s Sunsweet mixed-use project on Third and Depot Streets. MOHI Farm is a fresh new culinary concept that capitalizes on local farms and the farmer’s market.

“MOHI Farm is a farm-to-table concept that honors Morgan Hill’s rich farming history while appealing to today’s health-conscious diner,” Leal said.