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MONTECITO, CA-Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts has paid $43 million for the vacant 213-room Miramar Resort in this community just south of Santa Barbara, gaining title to a century old beachfront property that would be difficult if not impossible to develop under today’s coastal development restrictions in California. Warner bought the hotel and its 15-acre site from Miramar Holding LLC, an entity controlled by Northstar Capital Investment Corp., in a sale brokered by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. Northstar Capital Investment Corp. is the capital that backs Morgans Hotel Group, formerly known as Ian Schrager Hotels.

The Miramar Resort, which has been closed since 2000, occupies 500 feet of coastal property on a site that is entitled for a renovation with 213 hotel rooms, a restaurant and beach bar, spa, three tennis courts and two new swimming pools. More than 10 prospective buyers made offers on the property, including national hotel buyers as well as local groups, says Art Buser, managing director for Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in Los Angeles, who represented the seller.

According to Greg Rice, EVP of Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts, the new owner plans to renovate the property, which the Warner company refers to as Miramar By The Sea, according to plans that were approved in 2000 by Santa Barbara County officials. The Miramar history dates back to 1876 when the original owners, Josiah and Emmeline Doulton, bought a 20-acre oceanfront property in Montecito and built a cottage for visiting friends. The Doultons eventually named the property Miramar and over the years the hotel was expanded until, by 1910, there were 29 structures on the property. The Miramar went through another ownership change and a series of ups and downs with the economy until Schrager purchased it for $31.7 million in 1998. The hotel closed its doors on September 10, 2000 to begin renovations, but those plans were put on hold after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and they never got back on track.

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