Shopping Mall Developer to Rebuild Luxury Resort Complex in SoCal

Here's something to have on your radar: We hear that Caruso Affiliated, a developer of shopping malls, is looking to reach into its deep pockets to rebuild a Southern California seaside hotel into a luxury getaway, for a cool $185 million.

According to Bloomberg, the Miramar Beach Resort and Bungalows in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, will have such amenities as a beach club, spa, restaurants and two swimming pools. 

Caruso bought the property, known now as Miramar by the Sea, in 2007 from H. Ty Warner (yes, the Beanie Baby guy). The California hotel had been out of service for more than a decade s past revival efforts were stalled by local opposition to development and the property market's crash. 

Caruso, who has about $1 billion in residential, retail and hospitality projects planned or under development, said he expects to choose a hotel operator and receive Santa Barbara County approval for final amendments to the Miramar project, including a surface parking lot to replace a once-planned underground garage, by the end of the year.

According to Caruso Affiliated, the Miramar will be built completely new from the ground up and will feature 186 rooms and suites, a majority of which will be housed in lanai cottage and bungalow buildings.

Twenty oceanfront suites and rooms will sit directly on 500 feet of private beachfront. The property will feature two pools, a large family-oriented pool at the center of the ground that will be the focal point of the resort; and a second, quieter adult-focused pool set amid the bungalows. The main building will feature a lobby lounge and bar, executive board room, and a ballroom that can host events of up to 500 guests in a variety of configurations.

A poolside structure will host a casual three-meal restaurant, with a fine-dining restaurant upstairs, according to Caruso Affiliated. Additionally, a beach bar will offer food and drinks on the hotel's boardwalk, and directly on the sands of Miramar Beach. The private beachfront also allows Caruso Affiliated to host events, including weddings, right on the sand. A 7,500-square-foot spa and private members-only beach club round out the list of amenities.

The rebuilt Miramar, scheduled to open in mid-2017, is Caruso's first foray into hospitality. Additional hotel projects are likely, according to Bloomberg.