|By Maria Zate, Santa Barbara News-Press,
Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Feb. 22, 2007 - What do you remember most about the old Miramar Hotel in Montecito? The new owner of the property wants to hear from you.
Los Angeles-based developer Caruso Affiliated, which closed escrow on the purchase of the Miramar on Tuesday (sale price undisclosed), has just launched a fact-finding mission called "Memories of the Miramar."
The goal is to mine the community's recollections of the glory days of the beloved seaside hotel, whether it be anecdotes, artifacts, pictures or souvenirs. All of this information will be used to help shape the direction of the Miramar property in a way that will reflect its history, the developer said.
"Mention the Miramar to anyone in the community and it immediately triggers a fond reminiscence. People have a strong connection to the hotel and wonderful memories of times spent there with family and friends," Rick Caruso, CEO of Caruso Affiliated, said in a statement.
"Our archive will preserve the history of the Miramar," he added.
The assembled treasure trove of Miramar mementos may later be used as a public exhibit displayed in the hotel or for a book or video, the company said.
Mr. Caruso was in Montecito last week for a meet-and-greet event with community members and to seek comments on how best to resurrect the Miramar.
Construction could get under way as early as Jan. 1, with the first guests walking through the doors by 2010.
Mr. Caruso has emphasized that he would like the new Miramar to be "an upscale, family-friendly beach hotel."
Bungalows will remain, and he intends to play up the Miramar's beachfront location. He also said that he wants to stay within the scope of earlier plans proposed for the Miramar so that the renovation can move along swiftly and smoothly.
While the old hotel had a total of 213 rooms, Mr. Caruso said that he might be willing to reduce the number if research indicates that larger rooms and more amenities would appeal to guests.
Submissions for "Memories of the Miramar" should be sent to Najla Kayyem, vice president, Caruso Affiliated, 101 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036, or e-mail: Miramar@carusoaffiliated.com.
Deadline for submissions is March 18, but Mr. Caruso said late contributions would be considered.
"The community is anxious for us to move forward and this is an important step in the process. This influenced our request for submissions by March 18," he said.
"If you can't make the deadline but want to participate, we will gladly accept future contributions."
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