Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 5:17 pm | Fair 71º



BizHawk: Hotel Californian Leads Wave of Change Along Santa Barbara’s Waterfront

Along with 121-room luxury hotel, Museum of Contemporary Art is planning a new headquarters and Santo Mezcal set to open in April


BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing [email protected]

One of the most rapidly evolving neighborhoods in Santa Barbara is the waterfront, particularly around the bottom of State Street.

The popular tourist and leisure area recently saw the opening of MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, the Cabrillo Boulevard bridge is being replaced, the tenant landscape of the artsy Funk Zone is constantly in flux, and construction on the giant new Hotel Californian project closed down streets and sidewalks.

With the latter slated to finish this summer, the neighborhood’s major facelift will be mostly complete.

Hotel Californian to open this summer

Some 200 people turned out to MOXI Wednesday evening for the announcement that Hotel Californian will open this summer at 36 State St. on three neighboring parcels.

The 248,000-square-foot project is completely reconstructing and expanding the once-dilapidated 1920s-era hotel.

Work on the project, which has also been known as La Entrada de Santa Barbara, began in 2014 after the site was purchased by Los Angeles-based developer 35 State Street Hotel Partners, which is led by Next Century Associates managing partner Michael Rosenfeld.

“It’s been a fantastic journey, and a fantastic partnership with the City of Santa Barbara, with the residents of Santa Barbara, with the merchants and business owners of Santa Barbara,” Rosenfeld said Wednesday. “We’ve really been received with tremendous grace.”

The 121-room, Spanish Colonial-style hotel is maintaining the building’s original façade, and will feature a rooftop event deck and pool, paseos, gardens, plazas, fountains, a ballroom, meeting and event spaces, a fitness center, a fashion boutique and a “Moroccan-inspired” spa and salon.

Los Angeles-based real estate developer Michael Rosenfeld has headed up one of the largest developments in recent Santa Barbara history with Hotel Californian. Click to view larger
Los Angeles-based real estate developer Michael Rosenfeld has headed up one of the largest developments in recent Santa Barbara history with Hotel Californian. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

The building on the original Hotel Californian site will be four stories tall and host 62 rooms, a deck, the spa and the fitness center. Two three-story Mason Street buildings will contain 58 rooms, the lobby and the fashion boutique.

Another building across State Street will feature a deck, a plaza lawn and a 1,700-square-foot presidential suite.

Hotel managing director Carlos Lopes said a Mediterranean and American restaurant anchored by seafood will go into the Mason Street complex, along with a café in the second State Street site.

Lopes said the hotel will have the largest rooms in the city. The average room rate, which will vary seasonally, will be around $550.

Mayor Helene Schneider, who spoke at Wednesday’s event, said the entire project will generate around 180 full-time jobs.

Museum of Contemporary Art headed for the Funk Zone

Within a two-minute walk of the Hotel Californian project will be the new Funk Zone headquarters of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The museum is currently holding the 22,000-square-foot site at 35 Anacapa St. as an asset, said museum executive director Miki Garcia.

The institution will “think through what the needs are in the community,” she said, and launch a capital campaign at a future date.

A family of academics and artists had held the property in a trust but “really wanted it to serve the community,” Garcia said. The family then approached the museum, which was already considering an expansion from its Paseo Nuevo shopping center location.

Tom Parker of the Hutton Parker Foundation was “instrumental” in getting a loan to develop the site, she added.

“We’re really excited about the future,” Garcia said. “I think the response from the community so far has been overwhelmingly positive” regarding the need for expanding contemporary art spaces in the city.

Her institution, she noted, is the only contemporary art museum between Los Angeles and the Bay area.

Santo Mezcal prepares to open

Opening in April at 119 State St. next to Hotel Indigo will be Santo Mezcal, a Mexican restaurant by Los Agaves proprietor Carlos Luna and his team.

Heading up the kitchen will be Executive Chef Ricardo Garcia, and covering the mezcal- and tequila-focused bar will be mixologist Sean Sepulveda.

Santo Mezcal, a new restaurant by Los Agaves, will open next to Hotel Indigo on Lower State Street in April. Click to view larger
Santo Mezcal, a new restaurant by Los Agaves, will open next to Hotel Indigo on Lower State Street in April.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Luna’s two Los Agaves restaurants in Santa Barbara are located at 600 N. Milpas St. and 2911 De La Vina St. Another is located in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace, and a fourth in Westlake Village.

As Santo Mezcal opens, work continues on Bluewater Grill, a restaurant slated to open later this year in the lighthouse building at 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

A block east, Berkshire Hathaway is looking for the next tenant for the former El Torito restaurant at 29 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Elizabeth Wagner
Elizabeth Wagner
"I consider myself to be an up front and honest agent and willing to talk my clients out of purchasing a property that isn’t right for them or won’t meet their needs in a year or two."

Full Profile >