|By Frank Nelson, Santa Barbara News-Press, Calif.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
July 8, 2004 - Santa Barbara's latest downtown hotel will reflect the region's Spanish heritage in appearance and in name: Hotel Andalucia.
The new name was announced at a "topping-off" ceremony Wednesday at the partly completed five-story hotel on the corner of Carrillo and Chapala streets, site of the former Hotel Carrillo.
Until the new name was unveiled before a crowd of officials, developers, owners, builders, media and a small army of construction workers, most people had continued referring to the project as the Hotel Carrillo.
Joyce Dorsett, the hotel's newly appointed general manager, said the building will mirror the architectural design of the southern Spanish region of Andalucia while also reflecting the "historic roots and distinctive style" of Santa Barbara.
The Hotel Andalucia, a $32 million project with 77 rooms and 20 suites, a ballroom in the basement and a swimming pool on the roof, is on track to open Dec. 1, according to one of the principal owners and developers, John Tynan.
At the topping-off ceremony, which saw the final steel beam hoisted into its rooftop position by a crane, he shared the limelight with Mayor Marty Blum, major investor Richard Sanders, Ms. Dorsett and contractor Mark Melchiori.
For this project, Melchiori Construction of Santa Barbara has teamed with Matt Construction, based in Santa Fe Springs. The two companies previously worked together on Montecito's Miramar Hotel.
Don Erickson, director of development at TynanGroup, said about 100 construction workers are employed on the site. He said that number is likely to grow to around 130 in the five-month run-up to completion.
Traffic delays on Chapala Street, caused by the construction spilling out across two lanes near the junction with Carrillo, are also expected to last longer.
Mr. Erickson said the estimated end date of July 23 has now been pushed back so that one lane will reopen at the end of August and the second one around mid-October. After that, he said, the sidewalks and street frontage of the hotel will be completely restored and landscaped.
That's welcome news for Masoud Emamy, who owns the Seaside Market across Chapala Street and manages the adjacent Shell service station.
He said blocking part of the street has created entry and exit problems at the service station, and he's looking forward to seeing some greenery in front of the hotel.
The landscaped Hotel Andalucia will certainly be a huge improvement over the gaping hole that blighted the busy intersection for more than five years after the demolition of the 74-year-old Hotel Carrillo.
The new hotel, designed by Brian Cearnal of Santa Barbara's Cearnal Architects, will offer 5,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space, a rooftop patio with fireplace, a ground-floor eatery with seating for 80 in the restaurant and 40 in the bar area, an art gallery, business center and underground parking.
The hotel will be operated by the Edward Thomas Group of Santa Monica.
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