New Miramar Project at MBAR 

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   October 31, 2023

Representatives of Rick Caruso’s Rosewood Miramar Resort were in front of the Montecito Board of Architectural Review (MBAR) last week showing conceptual plans of a new proposal that would include residential housing and new retail shops. 

Caruso’s Senior Vice President of Development Bryce Ross told the Board that the new expansion project was born out of the desire to add new employee housing on site as part of the Santa Barbara County Housing Element. In order to add new housing units for employees, the resort site would need to be reconfigured by relocating parking from the corner of South Jameson and Eucalyptus to the eastern portion of the property; significant utilities would also need to be relocated, according to project representatives. 

The project includes the addition of 16 employee housing units (adding to the four already on site), and the units would be a mix of studios and family units. The units would be located on the eastern portion of the property, and some would be located over storage areas. A parking deck is planned behind the units. 

On the western portion of the property (the corner of Eucalyptus and South Jameson), 12 resort-style shops, including a café and a grab-and-go eatery, would be built, with 15 “resort apartments” built above, on the second and third floor. These market rate apartments would offer long-term tenants the ability to “live at the Miramar,” with access to the amenities of the Resort. These units also contribute to Housing Element numbers, according to Ross. “The new construction will be absolutely consistent with the Miramar’s architectural style, finishes, quality of construction, and aesthetic,” Ross said. Landscaping, building orientation, and color palette will feel like a natural extension of the current resort, according to reps. 

According to County staff, modifications will be required for the new project’s height restrictions and setback requirements. There will be 482 parking spaces on the project site after the proposed development is built, but all parking on the site, including the employee housing, will be valet parking. 

A new proposal by the Rosewood Miramar seeks to add shops and long-term rentals on the corner of South Jameson and Eucalyptus, in an effort to offset the financial implication of adding 16 employee housing units. The project was in front of the Montecito Board of Architectural Review last week.

Several neighbors spoke at the meeting, voicing concern over construction inconvenience, parties on the beach, lighting on the beach, parking, and incompatibility with the neighborhood. Four letters in support of the project were also submitted to MBAR. 

MBAR members voiced concern over the size, bulk, and scale of the new buildings, which will be three stories on the corner of South Jameson and Eucalyptus. Others said parking and traffic are potential issues, and the location of the employee housing facing the freeway is of concern. MBAR member Claire Gottsdanker, who sat on the Montecito Planning Commission when the Miramar project was approved and took issue with the new three-story building fronting Jameson, asked Caruso’s reps why there is a need for adding more development to the site. Ross answered that there is a financial need for new revenue to offset the building of the affordable housing, as well as desire for more retail shops and eateries from guests. 

The MBAR asked for more information moving forward, including more renderings of the proposed project in relation to current buildings on the site, and the building of story poles to get an idea of the size of the proposed project. 


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