Miramar Hotel

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The vote by the supervisors denied appeals filed by two partiesand upheld an Oct. 8 decision by the Montecito Planning Commissionto approve the Caruso plan. The new Miramar will feature threerestaurants, a spa, a beach club, ballroom facilities and aboardwalk along Miramar Beach. It will redevelop a property thathas been considered an eyesore since not long after the Miramar wasshuttered in 2000.

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Caruso, the CEO of Caruso Affiliated, prevailed with theMontecito Planning Commission after four hearings on and manymodifications to the Miramar project. His firm now has thenecessary approvals to begin work at the Miramar, where Carusoexpects to begin work in early 2009, with opening scheduled for2011.

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Caruso's plan has received widespread support including theendorsement of all local homeowners associations, including theMontecito Association, following years of community debate overproposals from previous owners of the property. Caruso Affiliatedbought the hotel in January 2007 and has been working on theredevelopment plans ever since.

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The Miramar is the first foray into hotels for CarusoAffiliated, which is best known for developing and operatingoutdoor retail properties like the Grove in Los Angeles, the Lakesat Thousand Oaks, the Promenade at Westlake, the Commons atCalabasas and the Americana at Brand in Glendale. His redevelopmentof the Miramar will be the latest chapter in a history of theproperty that dates back to 1876 when a pioneering couple namedJosiah and Emmeline Doulton bought an oceanfront property andeventually developed it into a series of guest cottages calledOcean View Farm.

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The Doulton's later changed the name to Miramar. In recentyears, two other prospective redevelopers of the site—hotelier IanSchrager and hotelier-toy magnate Ty Warner—acquired the site butmade little progress on restoring the property.

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