Aficionados of the Santa Barbara coast, as well the neighbors in Montecito, still mourn the demise of the Miramar. The motel squeezed between the 101 freeway and the Amtrak tracks had a beach, sprawling grounds that were great for kids and rates that made it one of the least expensive places to stay right on the water. In the late 1990s, New York hotelier Ian Schrager bought the Miramar, gutted the place and said he would build a hip new resort (somehow ignoring the unavoidable freeway and train noise.) When he ran out of money, Ty Warner rescued him in 2005. But still the site remained an eyesore. Now the Santa Barbara Independent reports that shopping center innovator Rick Caruso, the former L.A. police commission president and developer of The Grove, looks to be closing in. His people have met with the Montecito heavyweights and it looks like a deal. Whatever he builds, I suspect the site will never again be accessible to middle-class families. But at least it won't be an open sore. Mark has a take at LA Biz Observed.
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