Caruso announces to buy Miramar Hotel Property

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Montecito, Calif.Respected Southern California developer Rick J. Caruso announced today that his company, Caruso Affiliated, has finalized a contract to buy the Miramar Hotel property in Montecito from toy and hotel magnate Ty Warner. Caruso announced that he intends to reopen the property as a high-quality hotel that will be a great tourist destination as well as an asset to the Montecito community and its residents.

Caruso Affiliated is best known for developing and operating high quality outdoor retail properties including The Lakes at Thousand Oaks, The Commons at Calabasas, and The Grove in West Los Angeles.

“My properties have been successful because of our strong emphasis on hospitality and customer service. Breathing new life into the Miramar Hotel is a great extension of that focus on hospitality. This is a great property, and a great community, and I look forward to working hand-in-hand with the local residents and elected officials to build a really special hotel,” said Caruso.

“I am enthusiastic about welcoming our new neighbor, Rick Caruso. Everything he has ever built has been first class, and he has an excellent reputation for working closely with the communities where he does business. I think we have a great opportunity in working with Caruso Affiliated to finally bring back the Miramar property. I am committed to working closely with him to get this done, and get it done right,” said First District County Supervisor Salud Carbajal.

Caruso finalized the deal with Warner earlier this week and the property is in escrow. Caruso though, whose company is known for its commitment to working with the local communities where he builds his projects, has already begun meeting with local officials and community members to hear their ideas and concerns regarding the property.

“Our intent is to build a first-class, beachfront, family-friendly hotel that maintains the spirit of the Miramar, and also reflects the tastes and feel of Montecito. But, before we take our next steps, we want to meet with many more people in the community and hear their thoughts. We have been very encouraged by the response we have received thus far,” added Caruso.

“There is a lot of frustration that this property has sat empty for so long, and so we want to move forward quickly. At the same time, this is a one-of-a-kind property that sits in the heart of a beautiful community and we want to get it just right. We are going to put together a talented and experienced team – the very best – to build a great hotel,” Caruso added.

The Miramar history began in 1876 when Josiah and Emmeline Doulton purchased the 20-acre ocean front property in Montecito. In 1889 the Doultons built a separate cottage for visiting friends, which soon served to accommodate outside guests. Originally called Ocean View Farm, a friend/guest at the hotel suggested that the name of the destination be changed to “Miramar,” meaning “behold the sea.” Mrs. Doulton was immediately taken with the name and ordered signs the following day. Over the years, the hotel was expanded and by 1910 there were 29 structures on the property. The Miramar struggled during the Depression and the Doultons eventually sold the hotel to Paul Gawzner on November 3, 1939. Gawzner owned the Miramar until September 1998, when Ian Schrager purchased it for $31.7 million. The hotel closed its doors on September 10, 2000 to begin renovations and was set to reopen in about 18 months. Five years later, the partially demolished Miramar Hotel still sits vacant on one of the most valuable and beautiful beachfront properties in Southern California.

Caruso Affiliated is known for creating open-air community and regional retail environments that serve as local gathering places. Caruso’s style has become a recognized brand within the retail industry and with Southern California residents and visitors. The success of the company’s stylish and elegant outdoor environments where people can gather, shop and be entertained has challenged the traditional “mall” concept and set a new standard in the industry. A recognized leader in this trend, Caruso Affiliated’s growth is approximately two times that of the largest publicly traded REITs and sales per square foot at Caruso properties are 75 percent higher than the industry average. Caruso is also respected in the industry for his close working relationships with the surrounding communities both during development and after his properties are open and operating.

Source : Business Wire

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