A rendering of the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel under construction in Santa Barbara.
A rendering of the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel under construction in Santa Barbara. (Courtesy photo)

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A new Courtyard by Marriott is coming to Santa Barbara.

The three-story hotel is planned for 1601 State St., as part of a grand remodeling of the La Quinta Inn.

“The Courtyard by Marriott is a staple in this category of hotel,” Andrew Firestone, principal of StonePark Capital, told Noozhawk. “It is one of the most renowned and respected brands in the world. This is going to be a really nice fit for what we have already in Santa Barbara. It’s a place for the business traveler, leisure traveler.”

Firestone said the hotel will be a destination for all travelers of all demographics and will be a springboard to everything in Santa Barbara, including sightseeing, shopping on State Street or wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley. The City of Santa Barbara, he said, has been a great partner in helping to complete the project.

The 39,459-square-foot, three-story addition to the existing hotel will consist of a new sub-grade parking lot with 62 parking spaces. The ground floor will have 28 new covered parking spaces, a new entrance lobby off State Street, a courtyard, a new pool, a spa, a dining/bar area, a kitchen and six hotel rooms. The second floor will have 32 rooms, and the third floor will have 28 rooms with a third-story deck and a rooftop deck, both facing State Street.

The entire project will result in a combined 63,110-square-foot, three-story hotel with 122 hotel rooms and 123 parking spaces.

The hotel is set to open in late summer or early fall. Upon completion, the entire hotel will be branded under the Marriott name.

The new Courtyard by Marriott at 1601 State St. in Santa Barbara is expected to open in late summer or early fall.

The new Courtyard by Marriott at 1601 State St. in Santa Barbara is expected to open in late summer or early fall. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara’s hotel industry is experiencing a signficant boon. The Hotel Californian sold in August 2020, Hotel Indigo sold for about $19 million in January and Hotel Santa Barbara sold in December for about $42 million.

Commercial Sales, Lease Rates Up

Commercial sales rose dramatically at the end of 2021, reaching the highest-volume sales quarter on record, according to Hayes Commercial Group

A total of 117 commercial sales properties sold in 2021.

Lease rates grew 10% year-over-year in 2021 and were 5% above the pre-pandemic average.

Santa Barbara led the growth. The city had 89 transactions and $340 million in non-hotel volume, about 53% and 78% above the five-year averages, according to Hayes. 

Hayes noted that billionaire Diane Hendrics purchased the 75-room Hotel Santa Barbara for $42 million. Billionaire Bill Foley purchased the Hotel Californian in the third quarter for $130 million. 

“If you were considering scooping up a hotel at a bargain price while the hospitality industry is in recovery mode, these three hotels all traded for more than $1,000 per square foot, not exactly ‘COVID-discount’ pricing,” Hayes’ report states.

A team of local developers purchased the Macy’s building and much of La Cumbre Plaza for $63 million in the third quarter. Nordstrom in Paseo Nuevo sold for $13 million, and the Public Market sold for about $10 million, including a nearby commercial condo.

Commercial office buildings also sold like hotcakes. A record 49 off-market sales were recorded in 2021, which reflects high-demand conditions, according to Hayes.

At the same time, the number of on-market sales also established a new high mark of 68 transactions, most of which closed in the third and fourth quarters.

Newspaper Sells

The Santa Ynez Valley Star has been sold to 13 Stars Media.

“Looking back, I think I was a bit crazy to start a newspaper, but the Valley deserved to have a publication that would shine a light on all the wonderful people, businesses and organizations that make up this world-class area,” the paper’s founder and previous publisher, Raiza Giorgi, wrote in a letter on Tuesday. “The Star was born, and I want to say that these past six years have been an amazing journey for myself and the people who have made my dream come alive, which includes you, the readers.”

She started the Santa Ynez Valley Star as a monthly publication in 2016.

The new owners state that “13 Stars Media produces and publishes hometown media, news and information with local writers for local readers.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.