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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 6:39 pm | Fair 60º


Developer of Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows Ready to Start Building

Caruso Affiliated reveals a new concept for the Montecito hotel, with a planned opening in summer 2017

The developer of the Miramar Beach Resort & Bungalows in Montecito says it is ready to move forward with revamped plans, with an opening expected in summer 2017.

A new concept for the hotel to be built on nearly 16 acres overlooking Miramar Beach and the Pacific Ocean was revealed last week by Caruso Affiliated, the privately held real estate company taking on the project.

Plans highlight a scaled-back design, building 170 guest rooms instead of 186, including 27 oceanfront rooms and suites, and a freestanding presidential suite.

Caruso Affiliated purchased the property in 2007, and has been working since then to demolish the existing hotel and begin building a new one — currently a to-be-determined timeframe based on how quickly approvals come back.

The company would not disclose project costs, but previous reports indicated Caruso Affiliated was trying to raise $170 million in financing.

“With respect to financing, the markets to finance new construction of hotels have improved dramatically in the past nine months, and we are confident that we’ll be able to finance this new plan at the appropriate time once it’s approved,” said Matt Middlebrook, the firm’s executive vice president of development.

Caruso Affiliated founder and CEO Rick Caruso echoed that optimism in a statement, although he is no longer pursuing a tax rebate program with Santa Barbara County that he sought as recently as last year.

The county-approved Hotel Incentive Program is supposed to allow new hotels with a value of $50 million or more to get transient-occupancy-tax rebates, but Caruso was never able to strike a deal with officials over Miramar project terms.

“The real estate and financial markets have steadily improved, and we have remained committed to this project throughout one of the most challenging economic times imagined,” Caruso said. “We are thrilled to be working with renowned Santa Barbara architect Marc Appleton, and his more intimate design will tie characteristics of the old Miramar with a new paradigm for hospitality.

“As we embark on the next phase of this project, we are confident that we will be able to build a resort that will not only echo the great heritage of The Miramar, but also one that Montecitans will be proud to call their own.”

The original Miramar Beach Hotel was established in the late 1880s as one of the first beachside hotels in California, but has remained vacant since 2000.

Caruso’s new design adds an oceanfront restaurant and a tweaked Miramar Club to the property, which will boast meandering pedestrian walkways, an “intimate” garden, and 68 new public parking spaces along Jameson and Eucalyptus lanes.

The luxury resort’s main building will feature a lobby, bar/lounge, ballroom/meeting rooms, and premier ocean- and mountain-view suites on the second level.

A casual all-day-dining poolside restaurant and spa and fitness center will become more accessible to guests there as well.

The architect also dreamed up a lawn leading from the main building to the ocean for weddings or other special events held on the nearby beach.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

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